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Hack your way into an information security career

Cyber Security consultancy MWR InfoSecurity announced on Monday the fourth annual HackFu challenge. The challenge is an online hacking competition, which aims to generate interest in the information security field, as well as recruit students to address the cyber security skills gap in South Africa in the run up to the main HackFu event in June.

For those new to HackFu, it’s an event hosted by MWR that brings the world’s best security pros and enthusiasts together to take part in challenges designed around hacking, scripting, tinkering, lock-picking, crypto, and generally thinking outside the box.

The South African HackFu challenge will give participants a chance to win places at the main event, as well as a host of other tech goodies including a DIY 3D printer kit, Quadcopters, a smartphone-controlled paper airplane kit, Chromecast, as well as plenty of MWR swag such as t-shirts and USB drives.

Competitors will download a set of challenges based on a custom-created storyline set in a post-apocalyptic world of the future. Applying problem solving skills and a healthy amount of technical prowess will lead the applicants to the answers. Those who show enough promise will be invited to participate in this year’s HackFu, either onsite at the venue or remotely in a new feature being introduced for this year’s event.

Although the challenge targets South African students in particular, anyone and everyone who is interested in the information security field is invited to enter.

“There is a grave shortage of skills in the country and we hope to get more bright South Africans involved in the security industry,” says Riaan Vanboom, Director at MWR South Africa.

He adds there are ten challenges in total, ranging from simple logic puzzles to complex, multi-part challenges. “Each solution will give participants a password which they can use to decrypt another part of the story.”

Upon registering for the challenges, participants are invited to tell MWR InfoSecurity a bit about themselves, to determine their eligibility for the available prizes.

“This year there is an online portal that participants will be able to use to plot their progress on the journey to success. As they complete each challenge, they will unlock more parts of the story, rise in the leaderboards, and come closer to the sweet spoils of victory.”

HackFu is a unique cyber security event that throws security pros and enthusiasts together in an immersive live storyline that plays out over the course of two days. From start to finish, skills will be tested, fun will be had and nothing will be as it initially seems.

The primary purpose of the event is to set a standard in developing cyber security skills. It does this by raising awareness of the skills gap facing the industry, showcasing the roles that exist in this exciting and dynamic sector and developing the skills, techniques and capabilities needed to excel in this space.

Over the coming months MWR will be releasing additional information of its HackFu blueprint to help other organisations plan and execute similar events. It hopes, by inviting others to learn from this experience of running the event, that the cyber security skills shortage can not only be highlighted but new talent from complimentary disciplines encouraged to join the cyber security taskforce.

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