What should teenagers study in school? We can (hopefully) agree on math, science, and perhaps some form of sport. But what about, say, cyberwarfare?
Arms manufacturer Northrop Grumman has announced that it will be working with schools, colleges and scout groups in the U.K. to teach 12- to 18-year-olds the basic skills and concepts behind online warfare.
Groups of children taking part in the new program, named CyberCenturion, will be split into teams before beginning the simulation. The game itself has two rounds, both of which involve playing the role of cybercriminals. In six hours, each team has to fix the vulnerabilities found in a virtual computer. Teams will be marked according to the complexity of the vulnerabilities they catch, and the top-scoring teams will face each other in a live cybercrime showdown in April 2015.
So, what prizes are up for grabs for Britain’s most enterprising teen hackers? Winning teams will be in the running for internships at Northrop Grumman, or passes to weapons conferences.
This isn’t the first time that children have competed in cyberwarfare simulations for prizes. The U.S. Air Force already runs a similar program, named CyberPatriot, which it uses to steer students towards careers in the the cybersecurity, technology and science industries. According to the Daily Telegraph, 80 percent of the 250,000 students who took part in the CyberPatriot program went on to work in either security, science, engineering, maths or lT.