In order to better understand cybercriminals, and improve businesses’ ability to defend against today’s threats, Symantec is sponsoring a series of Cyber Readiness Challenge events. Following the first event held in Toronto earlier in the month, the second was held on November 29 in Irvine, California. This technical competition pits users against each other, according to level of technical ability, in a capture-the-flag style environment, to perform a series of tasks attacking and defending simulated data centers.
On a rare rainy evening in Southern California, the competition opened with a presentation by Samir Kapuria, vice president of Symantec Strategy and Security Intelligence, on today’s cyber threats and how they are evolving. Kapuria also talked about how software vendors traditionally focus on building products in response to attacks vectors and techniques. He described this in military terms as being “Right of Bang” when an incident has already happened. And talked about how to move the security industry “Left of Bang” – before the attack - using security intelligence.
More than 50 technology enthusiasts competed for pride as well as prizes. The winner of the Irvine competition was Joe Luna using the player handle “KeyserSoze.” He worked closely with Joshua “axesslan” Chin who secured the second place prize. Their teamwork mirrored the kind of teamwork seen in real-world attack scenarios.
“This is about more than simply proving who has the best skills,” said Kapuria. “There are so many different kinds of threats out there now that we want people to be aware of the need for constant vigilance in their security practices.”
By applying their knowledge to real-world events, IT security pros can see how well their skills stack up to those of their peers, granting them valuable insight into where they may need to improve. “Our hope is that seeing through the eyes of attackers will lead to improved vigilance and more intelligent preparation among businesses,” Kapuria noted.
Symantec partner Aurora, provider of security consulting for mid-market and enterprise organizations, was also on hand to talk with attendees about data security. Hot topics included encryption technologies, data loss prevention and the growing demand for managed security services.
Additional Cyber Readiness Challenge exercises are scheduled in the coming weeks, to take place in Dallas; Chicago; and New York City.