Inspiring a new generation

Australia’s best young cyber stars have been recognised in the Cyber Security Challenge Australia (CySCA), the nation’s flagship hacking competition for tertiary students.

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and industry partners run the challenge to address the critical cyber security skills shortage by encouraging young Australians to pursue a career in the field.

The latest research reveals the domestic cyber security industry must employ over 45,000 additional workers over the next decade to build a cyber security sector that advances Australia’s cyber resilience.

“People are central to ASD’s mission of ensuring a prosperous and secure Australia. We must recruit, train and retain clever, curious people to defend Australia from global threats,” the Director-General of ASD, Mike Burgess, said.

The award ceremony was held at the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) in Canberra.

Students from the University of New South Wales and Monash University were the overall winners. Prizes were also awarded for the highest ranking teams from the first year, women’s and TAFE categories, with students from Macquarie University, Canberra Institute of Technology and Box Hill Institute recognised for their standout performances.

CySCA 2018 represents the ongoing and shared commitment between government and industry to addressing the cyber security skills shortage by encouraging students to engage in STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – and consider STEM-related careers.

“CySCA supports ASD’s efforts by challenging students to identify and resolve real-world cyber threat scenarios, inspiring them to build their cyber security skills and embark on a future in the industry,” Mr Burgess said.

CySCA has a longstanding history of success in encouraging students to become cyber security professionals.

Former CySCA competitor Matt finished in a top placed team last year and says participation in the hacking challenge was the reason he pursued a cyber security career.

“I didn’t know about cyber security and I’d never heard of ASD until I came across CySCA during my first year of university,” Matt said. “Now I’m a proud ASD staff member and look forward to an interesting and rewarding cyber security career where I can continue to build my skills.”

In congratulating the winning students, Head of the ACSC, Alastair MacGibbon, challenged them to become cyber security role models and mentor others throughout their time at university and in future workplaces.

“You are the cyber security leaders and innovators of tomorrow and I’m pleased the future rests with such a talented group of people,” Mr MacGibbon said. “You should open the door to opportunities, increase the performance of our organisations, and promote cyber security as the exciting and fulfilling career it is.”

More than 400 students from tertiary institutions across the country took part in CySCA 2018, with 23 students awarded prizes for their achievements. Industry partners contributed to the prize pool that gives students ongoing exposure to cyber security, including attendance at hacking conventions across the world and technical internships.

For more information about cyber security careers at ASD, visit www.asd.gov.au/careers.