U.S. Cyber Challenge Announces 2011 Cyber Foundations Competition

Sen. Carper Encourages Delaware's High School Students to Participate in the Online Cyber Security Talent Search

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee with jurisdiction over cyber security, encouraged students to participate in the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) 2011 Cyber Foundations competition, an online contest to identify talented high school students with the skills to pursue advanced education and job opportunities in the cyber security field.

The contest features a series of timed quizzes for high school students to test skills 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 through 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, 2011.

“In order to address the growing cyber security challenges facing our increasingly technology dependent society, we must focus on encouraging the next generation of Americans to develop the technology skills necessary to defend our country in this emerging battlefield,” said Sen. 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’m proud that Delaware is participating in the 2011 U.S. Cyber Challenge’s Cyber Foundations contest for high school students. This competition enables our students to gain vital technology skills while vying for awards, recognitions and a competitive edge in educational and job opportunities in the cyber security field.”

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. Delaware is participating in this year’s official competition. The deadline for high school and student registration for Cyber Foundations is Feb. 18, 2011. In 2010, Delaware was one of three states chosen to host a U.S. Cyber Challenge Camp. Twenty students from the University of Delaware and Wilmington University were chosen to participate in the cyber security training camp.

Sen. Carper has been a national leader on cyber security issues and, as chairman of a key Senate Homeland Security subcommittee, has chaired several hearings over the past three years examining ways to more effectively secure the U.S. from cyber attacks. These hearings culminated in June 2010 when the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed comprehensive cyber security legislation, the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 (S.3480). Sponsored by Sens. Tom Carper, Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), this legislation aims to modernize, strengthen and coordinate the security of the federal civilian and private sector critical infrastructure networks. One key provision of the bill, authored by Sen. Carper, would also provide the Department of Homeland Security with the authority to develop and bolster cyber security challenges across the nation in order to identify, educate and train the future cyber security workforce.

Cyber Foundations is conducted through collaboration with the SANS Institute, which developed the curriculum and competition. In addition, Cyber Foundations is one of several initiatives underway through USCC, a national program 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.

For more information and registration details for Cyber Foundations, visit the competition site at www.sans.org/cyber-foundations/.