UK unveils world’s first virtual skyscraper to help solve the cyber security skills gap

‘Government is committed to encouraging young people to consider cyber security as a career, and this new “virtual world” will help ensure the UK develops the cyber experts of the future’

 UK unveils world’s first virtual skyscraper to help solve the cyber security skills gap

 

The first ever virtual world designed solely to find, test and recruit cyber talent has been unveiled in London today.

Cyber Security Challenge UK, backed by the Cabinet Office, has launched ‘Cyphinx’, a 3D virtual skyscraper that acts as a gateway to recruitment opportunities, as well as cyber security games, competitions and ciphers.

The first collection of games for Cyphinx, which boasts the world’s first use of the Minecraft world to test cyber skills, has been developed by global technology companies Clearswift and ProCheckUp, and cyber hobbyists as young as 12 years old.

>See also: Why cyber training in schools is vital to the future of Britain’s security

By combining always-on access to games and competitions that reflect the real-world skills cyber professionals use today, with learning materials and the chance to meet potential employers, Cyphinx is being pitched as the UK’s hub of cyber talent recruitment opportunities.

With the growing cyber skills gap and recent news that jobs in the sector can pay over £100,000 a year, cyber security is an exciting career option. But traditional recruitment methods have proved ineffective and employers have sought new ways to find, test and appeal to fresh talent.

The Cyphinx virtual skyscraper, hosted by Skyscape Cloud Services, has been developed in conjunction with the Serious Games Institute to look like a high quality 3D console game.

Candidates can create avatars, enter the building, interact with other candidates and engage with potential employers.

As they work their way through the games, players’ scores are entered onto leader boards for security-related disciplines such as risk analysis, forensic analysis, network defence and ethics, allowing them to showcase their skills and create a digital CV in the process.

Leading employers supporting the project include SANS Institute, BT, GCHQ, QinetiQ, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Airbus, National Crime Agency, IRM, Raytheon, PWC, PGI, Bank of England, National Grid, HMGCC, and ProCheckUp.

To reflect the real world of cyber skills as accurately as possible, Cyber Security Challenge UK has encouraged these supporters to help create the games, ciphers and puzzles.

>See also: New cyber security exam will train governments by simulating attacks

“The UK has a thriving digital economy so there's a huge demand for people to join the cyber security profession and help protect our businesses,” said Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy. “Government is committed to encouraging young people to consider cyber security as a career, and this new 'virtual world', developed by the Cyber Security Challenge, will help ensure the UK develops the cyber experts of the future.”

Stephanie Daman, CEO at the Cyber Security Challenge, added: “Amidst the chronic shortage of cyber professionals, there is a wealth of talent which is still untapped. Over the last six years we have made it our mission to find these individuals, using the best, most innovative methods.

This is the next logical step to inspire an audience who may not yet even know that cyber is the career for them. By harnessing industry, government and candidate knowledge and expertise to find talent in new and innovative ways, we’ve created a world first – a virtual community that can be accessed whenever our candidates desire.”

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