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SANS CyberStart

What is CyberStart?

CyberStart is a forward-thinking skills program designed to supply specialist cyber security education to young people across the US. Using a suite of online challenges, tools and games it aims to inspire the next generation of cyber security professionals while identifying the best and most talented young Americans.

We are facing a significant shortage of trained and skilled cyber security professionals at a time where online technologies continue to evolve, and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated. The only way to solve this problem is to introduce, develop and help young people, in high school and college, pursue a career in this sector.

Our program has been designed so that it doesn't matter whether you are a hobbyist, interested in gaming or have studied computer science before. The platforms challenges are accessible to those without any pre-existing knowledge and welcome various ages and skill levels.

If your brain enjoys difficult challenges, reading between the lines and problem-solving, CyberStart is the perfect opportunity to put those skills to the test.

"I am really enjoying the challenges; they cause me to think about the question and what I need to do to recover the flags. I am going to post the information for my friends to try."
- George G.
"PS The geeky parts are the best!"

What is involved?

CyberStart has two main stages which are both played online. All you need to take part is a computer and internet connection.

The first step is to register to play. You can find a link to the registration below, which will be available from 12:01 AM EDT on July 14 through 11:59 PM EDT August 4.

Once you are registered, you will get access to a mini version of CyberStart where you have the opportunity to solve eight challenges. Take your time and solve as many as you can. This qualifying round is fun, but the full version of CyberStart has a huge number of challenges, including some really challenging ones for the top players.

Students who complete at least four challenges will be invited to participate in the full version of CyberStart, with hundreds of challenges and training spanning many security disciplines, and to try for scholarships.

For everyone who qualifies by July 28, invitations to play the full game will be sent on or before August 1st and you will be able to play CyberStart from 12:01 AM EDT August 1 through 11:59 PM EDT August 28.

For everyone who qualifies after July 28 but by August 4, invitations to play the full game will be sent on or before August 6, and you will be able to play CyberStart from 12:01 AM EDT August 6 through 11:59 PM EDT September 2.

To see a sneak peak of CyberStart take a look at the brochure here.

What is in it for me?

If you are interested in how websites are compromised, thwarting the code failures that let cyber criminals steal data and breaking codes CyberStart is for you. You'll get to practice and learn about many cyber security disciplines, and from the thousands of students that have been through the program already, have a lot of fun!

Fun aside, the August competition is just the beginning for talented participants. One hundred of the highest performers from the seven participating states will each win $1,500 scholarships, covering the full cost of the 2018 CyberStart Essentials cyber skills development program. CyberStart Essentials is a new program, validated in Europe, that gives talented students a proven boost toward a career in cyber security as well as the ability to demonstrate to colleges and employers how well prepared they are.

The most talented people who complete the 2018 CyberStart Essentials program will also be eligible to apply for grants/scholarships totaling $500,000 for more advanced cybersecurity coursework.

Are you eligible?

This summer, if you are 16, or older, on the 1st of September 2017, have access to the Internet and a computer and live in one of the following states you are eligible to take part in CyberStart: Virginia, Michigan, Iowa, Hawaii, Nevada, Delaware, and Rhode Island. The CyberStart program will be available at no charge, to high school and college students.

Need help?

If you have problems getting registered, or experience technical issues with CyberStart please contact us at CyberStart2017@sans.org.

Are you up for the challenge?

If you are interested in signing up to CyberStart and think you have what it takes to be the next cyber security expert, come back and register here between July 14th and August 4th.

Click here to begin registration and start playing immediately!