Whether it’s the conclusion of a fireworks show on the 4th of July, the culmination of March Madness, or the last episode of the season of The Voice, everyone loves a Grand Finale. The crowds of spectators anxiously anticipating the special flourish and the featured sponsors thriving on the serious media traction are all tapping into the opportunity to be part of a lasting memory.
Queue the Wicked6 Cyber Games; an inaugural event hosted by the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu as a fundraiser for hacker camps and other learning opportunities for women and girls in cybersecurity. Designed as the first true “cyber goes eSports” event, Wicked6 will kick off in late May 2019 with hungry, collegiate cyber teams competing for a chance to show off their skills in a LIVE, grand finale event in August in Las Vegas.
Here’s the dramatic background:
- General awareness around cybersecurity is skyrocketing as breaches, hacks, and other cyber incidents continue to dominate news headlines and pose a serious risk to both our personal lives and national security.
- To build on this basic awareness, it’s crucial that the public begins to understand why cyber security should matter to them every single time they connect to a website, sign on to a smart app, play a video game, stream movies and music, check an online bank account, post on a social platform – well, pretty much any and everything on a computer any place, anytime, anywhere. Each bit and byte of that connectivity makes us vulnerable and we all need to know how to improve our general cyber hygiene, and what we should question in terms of suspicious activities/ behaviors.
- Cybersecurity as a career offers many opportunities to students, young professionals and career changers. However, the whole cyber world might seem a bit intimidating for folks on the outside, as many people are not familiar with the field from a day-to-day operations/ responsibilities standpoint.
- At any given time, there are more than 300,000 open cybersecurity jobs in the United States alone. This delta in available cybersecurity talent is worsening, leaving all of us, our processes and systems that much more vulnerable.
- One of the biggest challenges in reversing the trends of this workforce gap is providing opportunities for individuals to develop the technical skills that make for well qualified cyber professionals.
- A strong cybersecurity posture is most commonly the result of collaborative team-based efforts where many skill sets, perspectives, abilities and backgrounds come together to create many-faceted defenses
Here’s the exciting build up:
- The Wicked6 Cyber Games, and specifically the LIVE component of the competition, will be made accessible to all audiences via numerous media channels including Twitch, YouTube streaming, a live Twitter feed, shoutcasters, emcees, and more. Pick one and be there! Cybersecurity is a critical part of our digital world. It matters to everyone.
- The choice to host the Wicked6 Cyber Games on Circadence’s highly gamified Project Ares cyber learning platform was made intentionally. The goals are
- To break down the intimidation quotient oftentimes affiliated with cybersecurity work
- To allow competitors to build player and team scorecards and publish statTo engage spectators in sport-type offering for our live and remote viewers to follow along
- Sponsorship opportunities are available to encourage further collaboration between academia and industry. All proceeds from the event go towards hacker camps for women and girls in cybersecurity, to enable these underrepresented populations to experience the field of cybersecurity and acquire the confidence and skills necessary to pursue a career in cyber.
- In structuring the competition as a series of team-based challenges, we hope to highlight collaborative efforts as a best practice in the field and show that everyone has a place in cybersecurity – from those with liberal arts backgrounds (i.e. psychology, sociology, etc.), to those with business-oriented backgrounds, to those with backgrounds in engineering and the hard sciences.
So mark your calendars and set your reminders. The Wicked6 Grand Finale is Thursday, August 8, 2019. Six elite collegiate cyber teams will go keystroke to keystroke, intrusion block to intrusion block, and almost literally head to head in the thrilling environment of a Las Vegas eSports arena. They’ll battle it out as they search and defeat the adversary, all while an avid audience watches intently and shouts out their support.
It’s eSports for a cause. Join the action and see for yourself. Your participation, whether as a competitor, sponsor, or viewer, will truly help make a difference during a pivotal time in a critical landscape.
Director of Cyber Academic Partnerships