Last week, US President Obama met with British Prime Minister Cameron to discuss a myriad of pertinent world issues. Among the topics discussed came the announcement of an upcoming "Cambridge v. Cambridge" hackathon that will pit elite cybersecurity experts from both sides of the Atlantic against each other. Representatives from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory will face off against engineers from the UK's University of Cambridge. The friendly battle will help develop cyber defense strategies as part of the broader cybersecurity alliance also announced when the two leaders met.
The hackathon structure will most likely take the form of "capture the flag" for hackers. Teams will earn points for both offensive and defensive tactics as each team races to gain access to coded secrets of the opposing team. The hackathon remains in planning stages as the event looks to raise funding via corporate sponsors. In addition to the alliance and the hackathon, the US and the UK announced a new Fullbright Cyber Security Award where awarded scholars can conduct six-month research projects specifically in this area.
Both countries realize that cyber threats continue to grow in speed, scope, and scale as technology continues to advance and globalization expands. In such an environment, multi-national cooperation is imperative to keep up and stay ahead. The US and the UK have a strong history of cooperation in cyber defense; however, the countries have implemented additional procedures and resources to continue cooperation. Shared information on threats, new joint ventures between intelligence agencies, staff sharing, and joint research projects are all part of the multi-faceted attempt to control and subdue an ongoing threat to national and world security.