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SANS NetWars Cyber Security Challenge slated for Las Vegas in September

SANS announced on August 15 the location of its next NetWars interactive cyber security challenge: Caesars Palace, in Las Vegas, NV.

More than 100 security professionals will put their cyber security expertise to the test by taking part in the NetWars challenge held in conjunction with SANS Network Security 2011, which is scheduled for September 17 to 26.

One of the key competitions in the U.S. Cyber Challenge, NetWars is an in-depth learning tool for security professionals, says a SANS news release. Participants compete in a mock environment to test their defensive, analysis and offensive cyber skills, fighting off intruders while trying to take over other target systems and networks. Digital forensics, packet and malware analysis, vulnerability testing and penetration testing are just some of the skill sets participants will be required to demonstrate along the way.

“The best way to defend against cyber attacks is to understand the mind of a cyber attacker, to know their abilities and predict their moves,” said Eric Bassel, director of the SANS Institute. “NetWars provides a forum for security professionals to test and perfect their cyber security skills in a manner that is legal and ethical, facing challenges derived from real-world environments and actual attacks that businesses, governments and military organizations must deal with every day.”

Launched in 2010, the SANS NetWars challenge offers two options for participants to compete: “Tournament” and “Continuous.” NetWars Tournament is a six-hour challenge conducted over two days at a SANS national conference. NetWars Continuous, with much more complex scenarios and target infrastructures, allows each participant to build their skills over a four-month period, conquering increasingly difficult challenges throughout that time period. Both versions of NetWars include five levels of varying difficulty, allowing people of various skill sets to learn and develop.

“With over 100 people in the room, ranging from entry level information security professionals honing their skills all the way up to grand masters of information security trying to prove their mettle, the intensity of competition is palpable, but always fun and entertaining,” said Ed Skoudis, director of the SANS NetWars project.

“NetWars attracts the best and brightest and an invitation to attend is something we’ve incorporated as a reward for successful competitors of other U.S. Cyber Challenge competitions," said Renée McLaughlin, executive director of the U.S. Cyber Challenge. “Attendees at the July NetWars included two college students -- Alexander Shagla-McKotch and Cody Shoffit -- who were the top scorers in one of our spring online competitions. NetWars enabled them not only to test their skills against professionals, but also to raise their level of knowledge because of the tremendously talented environment at NetWars.”

The U.S. Cyber Challenge is a public-private partnership focused on significantly reducing the shortage in the cyber workforce by identifying, recruiting and placing the next generation of cyber security professionals.

SANS Network Security 2011 is a national conference encompassing over 30 hands-on technical security courses, bonus sessions and practice labs, all designed to help prepare attendees to defend cyber space. SANS Network Security 2011 will take place September 17-26 in Las Vegas.



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