Talk about using your skills for good instead of evil! Recently, a competition called the US Cyber Challenge pitted young people with exceptional computer skills against each other in a hacker competition. Organizers of the challenge say that these kinds of computer skills go unnoticed because some of the best talent often has little or no formal computer training.
The challenge required participants to hack into as many target computers as possible, and then to defend these computers against further attack from others. The competition's main goal is to identify young people with computer skills and inspire them to become security specialists protecting computer and online systems used by the government, military, and even everyday people.
The challenge, which has a moderator, begins as competitors download an image with a hidden code. They then enter the system and attempt to hack security vulnerabilities as the moderator adds roadblocks and changes to throw the competitors off. The winner of the challenge is just 21, and a 17-year-old student also finished in the top three. Competition organizers hope that identifying talented youth and "grooming" them for jobs in high-tech security will keep would-be hackers playing for the "good" team. I think it's an excellent way to find and encourage talented students and job seekers, not to mention the benefits for online security and safety.