Northrop Grumman and the Cyber Security Challenge UK will today hold the National Finals Competition of CyberCenturion, UK’s first national cyber security competition for 12-18-year-olds.
With eight teams of teenagers descending upon the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, their task will be to protect sensitive customer data and valuable intellectual property for a fictitious video games company under attack by rival businesses trying to steal valuable industry information.
Candidates got to this stage by entering the competition as a new IT employee at a fictional games company called All-time Favourites Arcade (AFA), where they were taught entry-level system admin, such as how operating systems work. In the second qualifying round, successful teams were promoted in the graphic design department of the same company where they had to secure the department’s digital resources to thwart hackers attempting to steal their intellectual property for financial gain.
Andrew Tyler, chief executive for Europe of Northrop Grumman, said: “Last year, over 2,000 teams of young people took part in our US ‘CyberPatriot’ programme, and we believe that ‘CyberCenturion’ can replicate that level of success in the UK.
“There is a huge pool of untapped talent and enthusiasm for STEM subjects among young people and we believe we can use our world-leading expertise in cyber to help dramatically boost UK’s STEM skills base.”
As a national team-based cyber security contest specifically for 12-18s, CyberCenturion is also designed to address the nationwide STEM skills gap by opening up cyber security education to youth groups from every sphere of life, from cadet corps, Scout groups and Girl Guides, to school clubs and community groups.
Stephanie Daman, CEO at Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “People begin thinking about their future careers at an increasingly young age and it is vital that we find ways to get children interested in STEM early on. CyberCenturion opens the door to teams from a variety of sources, including computer clubs and Scout groups, giving us an opportunity to spread the talent net wider than ever before.”