- Ten of the UK’s best code-breakers are competing to make the UK European cyber security champions
- Team players are aged 15-29 and include students at schools, colleges and universities as well as industry newcomers
- The team is being coached and mentored by Cyber Security Challenge UK, IRM and Raytheon
- The competition is taking place in Switzerland from 19-23 October
UK European Cyber Security Challenge senior and junior teams
Ten of the UK’s best codebreakers are representing Britain in the first European Cyber Security Challenge this week in Switzerland. The young hopefuls are battling it out in a series of cyber security challenges, testing skills from network analysis to digital forensics to cryptography. They are competing against teams from Germany, Spain, Romania, Austria and Switzerland.
The UK team includes a 17 year-old maths whizz who can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 50 seconds, a 15 year-old who is currently teaching coding to his teachers, a 29 year old who only discovered cyber security this year after a career in finance, and the UK’s Cyber Security Champion 2015. They are split into two groups, the juniors, 14-20 years old and seniors, 20-30 years old.
“Our team is made up of individuals with very different backgrounds, skills and knowledge. This just goes to show that anyone, anywhere could become an expert in cyber security, they just need an inquiring mind and the passion to succeed,” said Stephanie Daman, CEO, Cyber Security Challenge UK. “The skills these young people possess are quite phenomenal and we’re excited about showing the rest of Europe just how good the UK’s cyber security talent is.”
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.
Cyber security challenges allow individuals who may not have considered a career in the field to undertake a series of small tests to see what they are good at and what they may need to improve on. Cyber Security Challenge UK announced, last month, the launch of its Cyphinx platform, the world’s first virtual platform to find, nurture and recruit talent for the cyber security industry. Cyphinx is similar in feel to many massively multiplayer games and helps open the door to a new talent pool of gamers, coders and enthusiasts.
The team is being supported by Raytheon and IRM in order to prepare them for the challenge ahead. Mark Rampton, a technical consultant for IRM said: “Getting into the cyber security industry isn’t always easy and that is why these competitions are great as they highlight and encourage previously unknown talent. At the beginning I felt that I wasn’t technical enough to enter the industry. However, the more people I met and networked with, and challenges I attempted, made me realise that cyber security was something I could do.”
Paul Crichard, Head of Cyber Research for Raytheon said: “The Cyber Security Challenge is important as it is the gateway into the industry. There is an industry shortage of suitable skills and the Challenge helps us find those that have the potential or already have those skills. We believe it’s our responsibility to assist with bringing in the next generation of Cyber professionals and the Challenge is the perfect way to do it.”
Cyber Security Challenge UK is in its sixth year and is backed by the Cabinet Office and delivered in association with professional bodies, UK universities and major industry employers, including Raytheon, IRM, BT, Northrop Grumman, National Grid, QinetiQ, Clearswift, CompTIA, (ISC)2, Bank of England and GCHQ. The programme supports the education and engagement with cyber security across schools, universities and career-changers.
Cyber Security Challenge UK – With the backing of founding sponsors like the SANS Institute, the Challenge started out in 2010 to create a series of virtual and face-to-face competitions that would identify talented people for the cyber security industry. Now entering its 6th year the Challenge is backed by over 50 of the UK’s most prestigious public, private and academic organisations, and hosts a wide programme of activities designed to spread the word about why cyber security is such a fulfilling and varied career and help talented people get their first cyber security jobs. Working from school level right through to helping career changers making the transition across, the Challenge is making a notable difference to the career prospects of those with the talents and aptitude to become cyber security professionals.
About Raytheon UK
Raytheon UK is a subsidiary of Raytheon Company. It is a prime contractor and major supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence and has developed strong capabilities in mission systems integration in defence, national security and commercial markets. Raytheon UK also designs, develops and manufactures a range of high-technology electronic systems and software at facilities in Harlow, Glenrothes, Uxbridge, Waddington and Broughton.
Raytheon Company, with 2013 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 92 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as cyber security and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.
Founded in 1998, Information Risk Management Plc (IRM) is an award winning cyber security services and solution specialist. Its vision is to align proportionate and agile cyber risk management with its client’s broader digital strategies – enabling them to confidently seize the opportunity that cyber presents for enterprise and innovation.
IRM protects its legal client’s good reputations for trustworthy service in the Digital Age. IRM help firms perform cyber security due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, simulate intelligence-led security tests, alleviate audit fatigue and achieve pervasive risk visibility – from board-level to file-level.