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MWR Opens HackFu for Entry

MWR InfoSecurity has announced the launch of the ninth annual HackFu Challenge, designed to test contenders’ hacking, scripting, tinkering, lock-picking, crypto and problem-solving skills to the extreme.

Initially conceived as a way to improve the skills of MWR’s own team, HackFu has grown over the years to become an unconventional, yet highly-effective approach to personal development for security professionals. The two-day event will take place at an as-yet undisclosed UK location in June, and contenders are invited from today to compete for a place at the event.

Martyn Ruks, Technical Director at MWR InfoSecurity, told Infosecurity that HackFu provides an environment where people can learn, develop and test out a range of skills that are unlikely to be found at typical training events or capture the flag events.

He said: “In the past we’ve taught skills in Windows, Linux, networking, reverse engineering, malware investigation, wireless, physical security, Smart Tech, SCADA and many more areas. But these skills are taught at many events already – so to be satisfied with that would mean missing the bigger picture. The difference with HackFu is that we also provide challenges in leadership, collaboration, problem solving, project management and negotiation with a specific cyber security focus.

“The reason for doing this is because we know that skills in these areas are just as important for improving the security industry, yet there are fewer opportunities to learn or practice them in safe environments where the consequences of making mistakes is reduced. So everyone’s HackFu experience will be different but equally important in teaching and developing the skills that they need in their current and future roles.”

In advance of June, MWR is inviting potential participants to compete in its pre-event challenges. Contenders who show superior skill will be invited to participate in this year’s HackFu, either onsite at the secret venue or remotely, in a new feature being introduced for this year’s event.

Ruks said that the primary purpose of MWR’s HackFu is to set a standard in developing cyber security skills in the UK and beyond, and to use any interest generated in the event to draw attention to the cyber skills gap.

“There is a vast array of roles that exist in this exciting and dynamic sector beyond pen testing and this event is designed to illustrate the techniques and capabilities needed to excel in cyber security,” he said.

“By capturing the public’s imagination, MWR believes the industry can not only raise awareness of the skills gap it faces, but also emphasise the opportunities the sector offers to those with the right aptitude.

He went on to explain that HackFu was originally conceived to test and improve current cyber security and team-work skills, in a way that allows exploration into technical areas outside an individual’s comfort zone, inspiring participant teams to come up with creative solutions to difficult problems.

“After all, this is what’s needed to combat the complex threats organisations face on a daily basis. We purposefully design some elements of the competition to encourage users to think laterally, as it’s not just about technical ability - but also the mental capacity, to challenge what’s perceived as normal to discover what’s actually possible.”

Over the coming months, MWR will be releasing additional information of its HackFu blueprint to help other organisations plan and execute similar events. To find out more about HackFu 2016, see footage of last year’s event and download the challenges visit the website.

In the opening session of the Infosecurity Magazine Virtual Conference, Cyber Security Challenge and National Crime Agency will present on "Securing the Next Generation of White Hats" at 915am GMT. Full details here

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