UK unveils virtual world to find, nurture and recruit cyber security talent

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

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

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 talented cyber hobbyists as young as 12 years old.

A hub of cyber talent recruitment opportunities

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 expected to become 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 in the cyber landscape and employers have been crying out for new ways to find, test, and appeal to fresh talent.

Recruitment disguised as a high quality 3D console game

Cyphinx is an entirely new approach to solving that problem. The Cyphinx virtual skyscraper, hosted by Skyscape Cloud Services, has been developed in conjunction with the Serious Games International 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, making it attractive for some of the biggest names in industry to use as a tool for cyber security recruitment.

As they work their way through the games, players’ scores are entered on to leader boards for cyber security related disciplines such as risk analysis, forensic analysis, network defence and ethics, giving them the chance to prove and showcase their individual cyber skills and creating a digital CV in the process.

Users cross paths with potential future employers

With organisations including, SANS Institute, BT, Skyscape Cloud Services, Clearswift, GCHQ, QinetiQ, Northrup Grumman, BAE Systems, Airbus, National Crime Agency, IRM, Raytheon, PWC, PGI, Bank of England, National Grid, HMGCC, and ProCheckUp amongst a host of Challenge sponsors supporting the development of Cyphinx as the natural evolution of UK cyber gaming, players are almost guaranteed to cross paths with some of the cyber security industry’s most prominent employers.

To create the best possible learning and playing environment, Cyber Security Challenge UK has encouraged experienced industry professionals from within its vast network of sponsors, previous contestants, and young cyber enthusiasts aged 12 – 25 to create cyber security games that blend traditional cyber security ciphers, code-breaking puzzles and contemporary gaming ideas. The result is a new collection of games that reflect the real world skills cyber professionals need to demonstrate, and that pay homage to the considerable variety of tools available to test those skills.

Support from Minecraft

Visitors to Cyphinx can now try their hand at stopping the bad guy ‘insider’ causing havoc within an office network, and performing digital forensics on suspect files. But they can also solve cyber puzzles in the world of Minecraft, where codes are hidden in unusual places and need to be found before they can be solved. This is the first time Minecraft has ever been used for cyber skills development.