TOKYO (AFP) - A cyber security competition began on Saturday in Tokyo, with organisers aiming to show off the skills of young Japanese hackers by testing them against international rivals.
The final rounds of the Security Contest 2014, or SECCON, brought together 90 participants in 24 teams from seven nations and regions: China, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.
The winners of the Tokyo competition will advance to the prestigious Def Con CTF (Capture the Flag) competition, slated for later this year, organisers said.
SECCON was designed to allow young Japanese technology engineers to show off their skills on the world stage, while also encouraging more to get into the field of cyber security.
Teams compete for points by hacking six virtual servers to discover particular keywords, and can also intervene to stop their rivals' cyberattacks.
"There is a need for a forum where fledgling, young... hackers can grow and gain understanding of their families, schools and the outside world," said Yoshinori Takesako, the head of the SECCON organising committee.
"This is important in order to keep them away from being pulled into the underground world," he said in a statement to AFP.
The Japan-based event has drawn a total of 4,186 participants from 58 countries through various qualifying rounds.
Takesako said the organisers, supported by government agencies, tech firms, and scholars, also want to change the media image that Japan lags other nations in the cyber security field.