F-Secure fully committed in its mission of developing cybersecurity talent

Competitions are a great way to hone skills and test the strengths and weaknesses of participants, best of all in controlled environments. Given the heightened state of cybersecurity awareness today, competitions in this field are becoming increasingly popular. Aside from the above stated benefits, cybersecurity competitions also help to raise interest in the field.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) realizes this and has for the past years been working with F-Secure, a Finnish cybersecurity company which bases its Asia hub in Malaysia, to hold the Inter-Varsity Cyber Security Competition Malaysia.

This annual event aligns closely with MDEC’s mission to advance Malaysia’s digital economy and raise interest and awareness amongst students in the field of cybersecurity, which is a crucial pillar for a thriving digital economy.

“In the field of technology there is always a race to secure talent with industry-relevant knowledge and skills. We feel that the best way to leverage our talent is to catch it young and infuse a strong sense of industry-academic partnership,” said Ir. Wan Murdani Wan Mohamad, Director, Digital Enablement, MDEC.

According to Wan, the nation’s cyber infrastructure needs highly skilled professionals to support and protect its systems. He believes that “hands-on” cyber competitions offer a valuable learning method for students, and this is especially good at the varsity level.

“These competitions are in highly interactive formats and often based on scenarios depicting events that can help students develop and increase their cybersecurity skills The chance to test their mettle outside of the traditional academic environment is invaluable and also provides a forum for networking,” said Wan.

Aside from the students, teachers can also leverage on the competitions to see how well their curriculums test and if there may be further opportunities to refine their teaching methods. The teacher-student combinations also forge the necessity of team building in which members might have individual skillsets that offer unique opportunities for success.

Working with global experts

The annual Inter-Varsity Cyber Security Competition Malaysia was organized recently by F-Secure, a company which has emerged as a global cybersecurity giant in recent years. With over 200 security engineers based in their Malaysia R&D hub, F-Secure has long seen Malaysia as a key player in regional cybersecurity.

“We’ve been championing the cybersecurity cause for over 25 years and defending homes and businesses. Now I am even happier that we have been going one step further and looking to secure the future. In this, MDEC has been a most valued partner and together we will aim for the next generation of cybersecurity talent,” said F-Secure Group’s Director and General Manager (Asia-Pacific) Ingvar Froiland.

Talent alone is a crucial for development, but F-Secure also takes the opportunity to oversee the transfer of higher technology skills. Through this, the company hopes to see student successfully transition their academic skills to an real-life environment in order to ensure that they are fully prepared for the future.

The Inter-Varsity Cyber Security Competition Malaysia was opened to full-time IT undergraduate students enrolled in all Malaysian public and private universities.

Interest from students has grown steadily and the number of teams participating this year has almost doubled since 2016. With 126 teams from 24 institutions taking part, the 2017 competition has been the largest so far.

Champion team “hashcow” walked away with three Mac Book Airs worth RM5,000 whilst the next four teams won prizes valued at a total of more than RM8,000.

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