La Trobe University vice-chancellor Professor John Dewar said the Cyber Games initiative was part of a La Trobe commitment to provide students with the opportunities and skills they will need to work in the cyber field – “one of the world’s fastest-growing employment fields”.
Hailed by La Trobe as the first in the southern hemisphere, the Cyber Games are designed to stimulate real-world threat scenarios in an immersive “cyber gaming” environment.
“Students will defend a range of cyber attacks – including phishing, denial of service attacks, an email hack or all-out cyber warfare. New vulnerabilities and tougher challenges are added as the situation develops, allowing students to defend real world scenarios," Professor Dewar said.
Victoria’s Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis, officially launched the initiative in Melbourne on Thursday.
“With cyber crime rising at an astonishing rate in Australia, cyber security has never been more crucial to our economy as it is right now,” Dalidakis said.
“La Trobe's new cyber security initiative for schools will help Victoria's next generation understand potential threats and build the skills they need to ensure they are well equipped to protect their personal privacy and our digital economy into the future.”
Under the programme, secondary students will be introduced to the field through an online entry-level version of Cyber Games being developed by La Trobe and Quantum Victoria — a specialist science and mathematics centre — in association with Cisco.
Students who demonstrate an aptitude or interest will then progress to participating in the Cyber Games, an interactive competition between school teams to be the best defender against a range of simulated cyber attacks.
“Optus and La Trobe University have a joint commitment to build the skills of the future for the knowledge economy. Initiatives like Cyber Games deliver interactive and innovative learning opportunities in cyber education and exciting game-changing ways in which we can connect and engage whilst creating pathways for our youth into the jobs of the future,” said John Paitaridis, managing director, Optus Business.
He said Cisco’s industry standard Cyber Range Platform — a cyber attack simulator using real life scenarios that can progressively increase in complexity and difficulty — would be adapted for use in the competition to ensure a safe and controlled environment.