Hail Minecraft : UK Government Uses Minecraft To Find And Hire Cybersecurity Talent
The UK government has launched the extremely popular and hugely successful MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) Minecraft with which it hopes to find and train the next generation of IT people who have the skills and potential to work in the computer security industry.
On Tuesday, Cyber Security Challenge UK launched ‘Cyphinx’, a 3D virtual skyscraper that has been created within the world of Minecraft, which will host cybersecurity games, competitions and ciphers as well provide recruitment opportunities for potential cyber security personnel, according to a release.
Cyphinx will feature the first use of the game Minecraft as a cyber skill development. It will also act as a community hub where users can go and meet with others who might also be interested in a career in cybersecurity.
The portal is hosted by Skyscape Cloud Services and was developed in conjunction with Serious Games International. It is aimed at a demographic between the ages of 12 and 25, where each floor of the building will play host to a variety of different challenges covering risk analysis, forensic work, network defence and ethics.
“The big thing missing from bringing talent into the industry was actually engaging the talent where they live, which is in the games world,” said Jay Abbott, Cyphinx technical director, in an interview with WIRED. “It’s designed to try and engage people who aren’t even thinking about cybersecurity as a career.”
Players will progress into further stages after completing the challenge they are in. The challenges completed and how the player performs inside the skyscraper will be used to build up a gamer’s digital résumé. The games were developed by several cybersecurity firms within Europe.
In order to enter and participate, the users must register and create an avatar. Anyone who signs up will have the ability to chat to experienced professionals who will be on-hand to help guide them through any of the tougher challenges, or else provide hints or advice about the hardships faced in real-life everyday work.
Players who manage to get the better competitions and cipher-based challenges within the custom-built Cyphinx skyscraper within Minecraft could earn themselves a “£100,000” career as a “cyber-professional”.
Stephanie Daman, head of Cyber Security challenge issued a statement about the project: “Amidst the chronic shortage of cyber-professionals, there is a wealth of talent which is still untapped,” she said. “This is the next logical step to inspire an audience who may not yet even know that cyber is the career for them.”
“Historically we’ve seen a shortfall of interest in cybersecurity due to a lack of understanding of the job,” Dr. Guy Bunker of security firm Clearswift, which is also involved in the initiative, added. “This new world allows the industry to inspire young people to enter the field, showing them how to become valuable players in a game that’s ever-changing.”
Backing the initiative are a number of high-profile organisations that includes the UK National Crime Agency, GCHQ, the Bank of England and the SANS Institute.
Cyphinx challenges currently can be only played by users in Europe. The registration to gain access will fall under the Cyber Security Challenge UK website.