Veracode Tackles Cybersecurity Skills Gap with Launch of The Hacker Games
Secure coding competition challenges university students to hack and patch real-life apps online
BURLINGTON, Mass. – March 11, 2021 – Veracode, the largest global provider of application security testing (AST) solutions, announced today the launch of the Veracode Hacker Games. The two-week collegiate competition will challenge computer science and cybersecurity student teams from eight leading universities across the U.S. and the U.K., including University of Virginia, Tufts and University of Warwick, to test their secure coding skills and give them the opportunity to win individual prizes, plus $15,000 in charitable donations for the top universities.
“With mounting pressure on developers to deliver software that is secure and keeps society safe from harmful cyberattacks, gaining foundational security knowledge translates to fewer exploitable problems during production and after deployment,” said Chris Wysopal, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Veracode. “Yet, training around secure coding is almost absent at the university level. We’ve launched The Veracode Hacker Games to help universities make secure coding a core part of their computer science and cybersecurity curriculum, while giving students an edge when it comes to putting their skills to the test in a real-world environment.”
Industry Research Paints a Picture of the Skills Gap
By empowering the next generation of software developers to write secure code at the start of the development cycle, organizations will be able to better manage their risk profile.
- Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, now attacking every 39 seconds according to a recent study by the University of Maryland 
- According to IBM, the average total cost of a data breach for a company is nearly four million USD 
- Currently, only 3 percent of U.S. bachelor’s degree graduates have cybersecurity-related skills (National Center for Education Statistics)  and in the UK only five undergraduate computer science degrees are certified by the UK’s National Cyber Security Center for cyber security content (National Cyber Security Center) 
Ming Chow, Associate Teaching Professor, Tufts University, said, “As educators, our job is to ensure the next generation is fully prepared for the challenges they will face in their careers. In this case, software development and security need to become tightly integrated from the start. The Hacker Games provides the perfect setting to put those skills to the test in a way that is engaging, fun and representative of real-world scenarios.”
“It has been another record year for investment in UK cyber security and we're working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre and others to make sure this continues as we develop the next generation of digital defenders," said UK Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman MP. "Veracode's first-ever Hacker Games will be instilling in university students the latest and most innovative methods in coding for software security which will help to boost their career prospects. I wish all those participating the very best of luck in this fantastic competition."
Using Veracode Security Labs to gamify the experience, participants in the inaugural Veracode Hacker Games (March 15-26, 2021) will complete hands-on challenges to find and fix dangerous security flaws in real-world applications. All participating universities will be given complimentary Veracode software for a year and Veracode will donate $10,000 and $5,000 to the computer science or cybersecurity university department of the first- and second-place teams respectively. For a list of participating universities, visit: www.hackergames.io.
1. Clark School at the University of Maryland, US, Dec 2020
2. IBM: Cost of a Data Breach Report, US, 2020
3. National Center for Education Statistics, US, March 2019
4. National Cyber Security Center, UK, March 2021