The United States is looking for the next generation of cyber warriors.
The US Cyber Challenge Cyber Foundations competition, kicked off this week by the nonprofit Center for Internet Security, is out to find 10,000 students with the potential to become "top guns in cybersecurity."
"The need to find creative solutions to protecting our information systems and digital infrastructure has never been greater," said center chief executive William Pelgrin.
"The Cyber Foundations competition will help us tap into the tremendous talent across our nation's schools to identify those with a passion for security and a desire to put their skills to good use," he continued.
The competition consists of a series of timed quizzes to test high school students in computer science categories considered key to protecting networks and systems.
Top-scoring students will get status, prizes, and introductions to government or industry leaders.
The Cyber Challenge program is design to nurture students with advanced education and exercises and connect them with colleges or employers.
Students have until February 18 to register, with details available online at uscybersecuritychallenge.org.
"In order to address the ever-increasing cyber security challenges facing our interconnected society, we must focus on the next generation of Americans to make sure they have the skills necessary to defend our country," said US Senator Thomas Carper, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee.
"We must act now to develop a competent workforce that can support the needs of securing our cyber networks, which is quickly becoming a national priority," added Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin in a statement of support for the venture.