The Cyber Schools Challenge is part of the UK government’s National Cyber Security Programme, and sees it working with partners in business, and the education and skills sectors, to increase cyber security skills at all levels of education and among the cyber security workforce.The Christ College team team consisting of Sam Richardson, Josh Denton, Jasper Mead and Dafydd Owen-Newns had to undertake a series of virtual challenges which involved them attempting to break coded messages designed by industry experts, as well as developing their own codes for other schools to try and crack.
Christ College registered with the Cyber Security Challenge’s School Programme following a letter from Roger Williams, MP for Brecon & Radnorshire, explaining this Government initiative.Cyber Security Challenge UK helps education institutions introduce the concepts behind cyber security. It offers an innovative way to ensure students are accurately prepared for a career as a cyber security professional. It also aims to identify and hone the talents of UK students to address a growing skills gap in the UK’s cyber defences.Head of IT at Christ College, Paul Curran, explained: “The team had to create three of their own encryption cipher’s with an encrypted message and a witty clue as to how to crack the ciphers. Once accepted, we were then entered into Round 2 which pitted us up against a number of schools where we had to attempt to break each other’s encryptions and decode their messages. At the end of this virtual tournament the top scoring teams were invited to a face-to-face final battle to find the next Cyber Security Challenge Schools Champion. We were delighted to learn that we came in the top 6 teams nationally and have progressed onto the Live Final!”He continued: “This is a huge achievement by the boys, to progress in a competition of this level and in a competition that has had this amount of national exposure. It’s an incredibly interesting area of Computer Science and it is great to see such competitions being started to encourage the best and brightest to enter this field of expertise. Its high-level backing also demonstrates the relevance being placed on the skills which are being demonstrated. We look forward to a fun day next Wednesday where the boys will undoubtedly be tested. It will be a great experience which will undoubtedly help influence their future University and career paths.”Head of Christ College, Emma Taylor, said: “It is important that schools are able to start supporting organisations by training up the next generation of cyber security experts from a young age, giving them the necessary tools and skills to deal with the latest cyber threats in the workplace. I’m delighted that Christ College has risen to the challenge!”Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “Keeping ourselves and our data safe online is of huge importance in today’s society. With major cyber attacks in the news every week and a shortage of people with the right skills to defend the UK online we need to get school children excited about the range of careers in cyber security. The Schools Programme has been an enormous success thus far.”The team from Christ College will now go head-to-head against teams from five other schools from across the UK in the Live Final of Cyber Games which takes place in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick.
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