Ten of the UK’s best codebreakers are representing Britain in the 2016 European Cyber Security Challenge this week in Dusseldorf. Britain’s best cyber talent will be tested in a series of cyber security challenges, examining skills from network analysis to digital forensics and cryptography. The UK team will be competing against teams from Germany, Spain, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Greece, Ireland and Estonia.
This year’s team includes a 17-year-old student, who develops Android apps in his spare time; a technical specialist who earlier this year joined the cyber security team at BT following a successful year with Cyber Security Challenge UK and a vulnerability researcher who tries his hand at Thai Boxing when he’s not in front of a computer.
The competition, taking place this week offers a chance for top cyber-talents in Europe to meet, network, collaborate and compete against one another to determine which country has the best skills. Young cyber talents discovered at the competition are encouraged to pursue careers in cyber security and use their European connections across their careers.
“This offers the UK to showcase its talent on the European stage,” said Debbie Tunstall, Universities Programme Manager, Cyber Security Challenge UK. “We’re excited about the progress we’re making in the UK and we’re keen to show the rest of Europe just how good the UK’s cyber security talent is. We have a very strong team heading to the Dusseldorf to represent the UK and we’ll be watching closely to see how they fare.”
The European competition has been developed in response to the growing popularity of cyber security challenges across the continent. These challenges have proven to be a great source of talent and recruitment for companies across the cyber security landscape, including government organisations, banks and financial institutions, energy suppliers and communications providers. The competition also allows international companies to see which country is home to the best of the best.
Each country operates its own national competitions to recruit teams for the European competition. Just last week, Cyber Security Challenge UK announced the youngest ever winner of its UK Masterclass Final competition, Ben Jackson, who is just 18 years old.
The team is being supported by BT in order to prepare them for the challenge ahead. BT expects to take-on and train 170 graduates and apprentices, as part of its 900 recruitment intake announced in April 2016. Successful talent attraction and internal development since then means 630 roles have already been filled with the remainder planned by end of March 2017. People will work in a range of cybersecurity and related support services roles. Graduates and apprentices will undergo training in BT’s Security Academy in a range of areas including physical security, penetration testing, threat intelligence, risk management, security operations and sales.
Rob Partridge Head of BT Security Academy said: “BT has a strong focus on cyber security, with a number of recruitment programmes to identify and nurture talent. We support the UK Cyber Security Challenge as it is initiatives like this which will help us to find the people we need to grow our teams. Cyber security is a critical issue all across Europe and it’s refreshing to see so many countries involved in the European competition this year. We’re proud to be part of a competition that offers contestants the chance to interact with like-minded people Europe and demonstrates the UK’s top talent in an EU environment.”