The Cyber Foundations competition was piloted in California, Maryland, and Rhode Island and is now being officially launched, with a number of states conducting formal campaigns to encourage schools and students to participate. The deadline for high school and student registration is February 18, 2011. For more information and registration details, visit the USCC website at: www.uscyberchallenge.org
Cyber Foundations features a series of timed quizzes for high school students to test aptitude in the three most important foundational skills of effective cyber security: networking, operating systems, and system administration. Students are provided with tutorials and training materials to review in each of the three subject areas and then participate in a series of three quizzes taking place throughout March and April.
Top scoring students in each school and state will earn recognition, prizes and/or awards for their achievements. Additional awards and recognition, including ceremonies with government officials and industry leaders may be available. Award recipients will be announced April 30.
Cyber Foundations is conducted through collaboration with the SANS Institute, which developed the curriculum and competition.
Cyber Foundations is one of several initiatives underway through USCC, a national public-private partnership focused on identifying and developing cyber security talent to meet the country’s critical cyber security workforce needs. USCC, a division of the Center for Internet Security, develops and conducts competitions and on-site camps that enable individuals to develop their skills, gain access to advanced training and achieve recognition with scholarships, internships and jobs. USCC’s goal is to find 10,000 talented Americans to fill the ranks of cyber security professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation.
“The need to find creative solutions to protecting our information systems and digital infrastructure has never been greater. The Cyber Foundations competition will help us tap into the tremendous talent across our nation’s schools to identify those with a passion for security and a desire to put their skills to good use,” said William Pelgrin, President and CEO of the Center for Internet Security. “This program is the result of tremendous collaboration between the public and private sectors and we look forward to continued partnerships to strengthen our nation’s cyber security talent pool.”
“In order to address the ever-increasing cyber security challenges facing our interconnected society, we must focus on the next generation of Americans to make sure they have the skills necessary to defend our country,” said U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper. “Last year, I congratulated the first graduating class of the U.S. Cyber Challenge Delaware camp, which recognized some of our state’s best and brightest college students. I am pleased that Delaware is participating in the 2011 U.S. Cyber Challenge’s Cyber Foundations contest for high school students, which enables our students to gain vital skills while vying for awards, recognitions and a competitive edge in educational and job opportunities in the cyber security field.”
“In a world of ever-present threats to our homeland, it is imperative that we maintain a proactive approach in safeguarding our nation’s cyber-infrastructure,” U.S. Senator John Cornyn said. “This initiative will help prepare a new generation of students to protect critical aspects of our infrastructure and provide Texans with the resources to succeed.”
“As online opportunities grow, unfortunately so do our vulnerabilities. That’s why it is critical to make strengthening and improving cyber security a priority in both the public and private sectors,” said Congressman Mac Thornberry, who will be leading an unprecedented cyber security initiative in the U.S. House of Representatives. “While many talented people are already hard at work to protect our systems, we also need to be recruiting our next generation of cyber security experts, especially in states like Texas. That is why I am encouraging students across our state to participate in the U.S. Cyber Challenge Cyber Foundations competition, which offers a creative and interactive way to identify talented individuals who want to play a key role in strengthening the country’s cyber security,” Thornberry continued.
"We must act now to develop a competent workforce that can support the needs of securing our cyber networks, which is quickly becoming a national priority," said Congressman Jim Langevin. "I'm so proud of our students in Rhode Island who piloted the U.S. Cyber Challenge Cyber Foundations competition last fall, and I look forward to expanded participation from more schools and students. By partnering with others in the cyber community, I hope this challenge will grow into a national model for inspiring and harnessing our young cyber talent."
“If we are to be successful in protecting our critical infrastructure systems from cyber threats—whether intentional attacks or unintentional compromises—we must address our nation’s shortage of skilled cyber security professionals,” said James A. Lewis, Director and Senior Fellow, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The U.S. Cyber Challenge provides a range of opportunities to identify and nurture talented Americans to meet this national priority."
"Cyber Foundations is an exciting program that provides high school students with access to cutting edge training, allows them to have some fun competing against their peers across the country and gives them the opportunity to be recognized for their talent in a positive way," said Alan Paller, Director of Research, SANS Institute. "As importantly, it identifies the young people who can become America's future cyber guardians and cyber warriors.”
For information about becoming a sponsor to support school participation in the Cyber Foundations competition, contact Renee Mclaughlin, USCC Executive Director at [email protected]