The state of California announced yesterday a new program to fight national cyber security threats and cyber crime. The California Cyber Cup challenge for students is a priority on the state’s agenda to fight cyber intrusions. It highlights the demand for cyber professionals, and the one million worker gap in technology jobs across the US.
The program announced during the CyberTECH’s Securing the Internet of Things was made at the state capitol as a part of the National Data Privacy Day 2016 activities conference. The Cyber Cup will become active in 2017, and it will encourage students at both high school and college levels to become engaged in new cyber security ideas, software and hardware. The state of California is placing the development of cyber security experts in the forefront of the future of the Internet of things.
There are programs currently in place for cyber competitions, and the newly designed challenge is to provide a Cyber Cup software/hardware competition and awards program by spring 2017. Prior to the event, a state organized consortium would give students access to experts in the industry and provide educational materials to all students showing interest in the cyber-security field.
It has become apparent that there are serious shortages in the workforce to support cyber security in the government and corporate areas. A recent audit of the $6 billion firewall run by the Department of Homeland Security meant to detect and prevent nation-state hacks against the government has failed to scan 94 percent of the commonly known vulnerabilities.
Aliya Sternstein, journalist for technology, reported today in Defense One on the deficiency in the cybersecurity and homeland security systems. “Einstein”, the government system, relies on tracking patterns of attacks or the “signatures” in the pattern to find suspicious traffic or malicious content, but it is not protecting against nation-state level threat actors according to the audit. This system failure is allowing any well-resourced group, such as a foreign adversary, to gain entrance in part of a target’s system and remain for months.
“Until NCPS’ intended capabilities are more fully developed, DHS will be hampered in its abilities to provide effective cybersecurity-related support to federal agencies,” according to GAO director of information security issues, Gregory C. Wilshusen, and Nabajyoti Barkakati, director of the GAO Center for Technology and Engineering who wrote the report released on Thursday.
The attention to develop cyber security within the educational system has begun in the UK. The GCHQ announced last week its groundbreaking Summer School will invite college students to a high-quality cyber training program for ten weeks. It will be held in Cheltenham, home of the GCHQ, the UK’s digital cyber spy agency. The Chancellor of Exchequer has posted £3.2billion into budget for the program. Students will receive £250 weekly to attend the program.
The California announcement emphasized its future impact. “When this is launches next year, this real-world program will make a profound impact on the future of fighting cyber-crime,” Ken Slaght of the Cyber Center of Excellence said. “We also believe it will pave the way for future cyber leaders.”
Included in the support of the new program are representatives from the Los Angeles Unified School District, the California State University system, the UC college system, and other educational institutions. Other sponsors include the California Governor’s Office of Business and Development, the Cyber California business coalition initiative and the Cyber Center of Excellence, located in San Diego.