Real-life labs will challenge students’ skills, teach valuable skills, and prevent future cybercrime
Immersive Labs, the company empowering organizations to equip, exercise, and evidence human cyber capabilities, is partnering with the National Crime Agency (NCA) to offer young people the opportunity to develop cyber skills online over the summer holidays. The program, Cyber4Summer, will be available for three months, starting July 7, 2020, to all users in the UK. This is a part of the NCA's responsibility geared toward today’s youth under their Cyber Choices programme – a national law enforcement initiative encouraging people to use cyber skills legally. Immersive Labs is providing gamified, engaging trainings for Cyber4Summer, which are handpicked to educate youth about hacking, challenge their skills, and deter them from dangerous future cyber crime.
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With more free time as a consequence of the recent lockdown and the coming summer holidays, it is a great opportunity for youth to learn new technology and cyber skills. Learning skills repetition can assist with prep for University and enhance the experience section on a CV. Immersive Labs provides a safe and legal platform where some of the foundations of ethical hacking can be learned. There are promising career paths around ethical hacking (red teaming) and defending (blue teaming), which can lead to challenging and rewarding job opportunities.
Approximately 653,000 businesses (48%) report having a basic skills gap, according to the UK Government. That is, the people in charge of cybersecurity in those businesses lack the confidence to carry out the kinds of basic tasks laid out in the government-endorsed Cyber Essentials scheme, and are not getting support from external cybersecurity providers. With educational programmes through Immersive Labs and the National Crime Agency, businesses can work together to close this skills shortage in cyber for the future.
"I know from first-hand experience teaching at GCHQ that traditional, classroom-style lessons don’t leave a lasting impact when it comes to cybersecurity," said James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs. "We know that people learn better from hands-on, engaging situations that mirror real-life crises, which is what we’re reflecting in the labs for the National Crime Agency. We’re excited to provide meaningful lessons for up-and-coming talent as they skill up their passions for online cyber activity."
As a part of the Cyber4Summer programme, Immersive Labs will provide over 100 labs, covering a broad range of cybersecurity themes and skill areas such as staying safe online, encoding, encryption, as well as the ins-and-outs of attack (red teams) and defense (blue teams). The labs are catered for entry-level to intermediate level youth ages 13-18, with a focus on hands-on practical cyber skills rather than simply awareness tips. Included are three challenge-based CTF (Capture the Flag) style objectives for students to complete, adding gamification and engaging angles to the trainings. These CTF challenges align with the ‘Cyber Crime Investigator’ role to give context to real-life industry practice areas.
"We’re really pleased to have partnered with Immersive Labs on this offering for young people at a critical time in their development. The real-life, simulated courses focus on engaging content that will help them to build their cyber skills in a safe and legal environment, preparing them for potential cyber careers in the future," said Jim Stokley, Deputy Director of the NCA’ National Cyber Crime Unit.
About Immersive Labs
Immersive Labs is empowering organizations to equip, exercise, and evidence human cyber capabilities. We provide metrics that give security leaders insight into human cyber skills and readiness levels across their organization and improve these through dynamic labs and crisis scenarios that track the threat landscape. Immersive Labs is backed by Goldman Sachs and Summit Partners and our customers include some of the largest companies in financial services, healthcare, and Government, amongst others. For more information on Immersive Labs’ offering, please visit www.immersivelabs.com.
About the NCA and Cyber Choices
The National Crime Agency leads the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime, with cyber crime being one of their top priorities. As well as disrupting the current generation of cyber criminals, the NCA works to prevent young people from slipping into cyber crime. The #CyberChoices network was created to help people make informed choices and to use their cyber skills in a legal way. This is a national initiative coordinated by the National Crime Agency and delivered by Cyber Choices teams within Regional Organised Crime Units and Local Police Force Cyber Teams. If you would like any further information or advice on Cyber Choices, please contact us through Cyber Choices.