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The Review

Becoming a Cybersecurity Hero


How CanHack is creating meaningful learning opportunities for students in the cybersecurity space

Technology continues to evolve at a cheetah-like pace and Canadian companies are helping to shape its future. But within this era of seemingly infinite technological breakthroughs, the challenge has become the need to safeguard companies (and us!) from cyberattacks. And it’s tough because the better companies (and us!) get at protecting themselves, there always seems to be a new threat knocking on the door.

This means, in Canada and around the world, there is a need for more innovators in the field of cybersecurity. Basically we need more cybersecurity heroes.

“It has become incredibly important to protect personal and customer data and because of that we need some great players to make possible change happen” said Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ, at the launch of CanHack 2018.

Partnering with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University helped to foster the next generation of cybersecurity experts through CanHack, a competition exclusively for Canadian high school students. It’s just one of the ways RBC is supporting and creating meaningful work opportunities for students in the cybersecurity space.

CanHack is challenging students over the course of two weeks to work with industry experts and learn cybersecurity skills, an essential set of capabilities in today’s commercial sector.

Adam Evans, VP, Cyber Operations and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at RBC emphasizes that major businesses are becoming more and more digitized, creating a dire need to digitally protect customers. As a result, organizations like RBC have to change the way they hire. Companies don’t necessarily need individuals with the technical skills to solve the cybersecurity issues of today.

“Companies are looking for people…with the critical thinking skills who can solve really hard problems really quickly”

Developing problem solving and analytical skills was at the core of CanHack; students didn’t necessarily need advanced computer programming skills to participate. The competition’s problem sets were spread across four levels, with critical thinking and innovative problem-solving at the core of every problem set. Winners will be announced on November 27, 2018.

To find out more about cybersecurity, the newly launched Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity is actively protecting important government services against digital assaults and a wealth of cybersecurity information can be found at the Cybersecurity Awareness Month website.