Virginia high school students with an interest in cybersecurity will get a shot at college scholarships thanks to a new Cyber Challenge. The free program will challenge students, testing their knowledge of cybersecurity in two rounds of competition, Gov. Bob McDonnell's office announced Sept. 18.

The first round of competition will be a quiz and the top 40 highest scoring students will progress to round two at George Mason University on March 2, 2013. During the second round, students will compete in a game of NetWars, a cyberwarfare training program used by the Air Force. After being tested on topics such as system hardening, packet analysis, digital forensics and vulnerability assessment, three winners will emerge and win scholarships of $5,000, $3,000 and $1,500.

“There is a gap in our country right now between the skills of our high school and college graduates and the needs of employers in high growth fields like cybersecurity,” McDonnell said in a statement. “Virginia has the highest concentration of high-tech jobs of any place in the country. Inspiring Virginia students to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is critical to their futures as well as the future of our nation. Events like this one will help to engage students and introduce them to the much-needed technology skills that so many careers of the 21st century will require.”