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2,500 teens take part in government-backed cyber security competition

More than two-thousand of Britain’s most talented teenage coders have taken part in a government-backed cyber security competition.

Overall, ten teams participated in the CyberCenturion finals competition, run by the Cyber Cyber Security Challenge UK and defence tech firm Northrop Grumman.

The teenagers were tasked with acting as cyber security professionals at made-up gaming companies.

They were then asked to explore ways to secure the firms after they had been targeted by cyber criminals.

The scenario was created by technology experts to get young people interested in STEM careers, particularly cyber security.

Working for these fictional companies, the teams developed skills in areas such as networks, critical patching and cyber security defence systems.

The organisers explained that the “gaming theme was selected for the storyline as ever-more games and hobbies are becoming digitised”.

The challenge was aimed at exposing youngsters to “potential dangers linked to online gaming”. A trip to the US was provided as a prize for the winners.

Oliver Dowden, minister for implementation at the Cabinet Office, said there is a critical need for cyber security professionals in today’s interconnected economy.

“As our National Cyber Security Strategy highlights, it is critically important that we develop the skills and capabilities we need to address the challenges we face,” he said.

“We can only succeed if we work in partnership with organisations like Northrop Grumman and the Cyber Security Challenge to inspire the next generation of cyber security professionals and entrepreneurs.

“It is fantastic to see so many young people take advantage of the exciting opportunities this competition brings – congratulations to them all.”

The participants were exposed to a plethora of intense tests to make it into the teams. These took place in the UK and Overseas Territories across six months.

Andrew Tyler, chief executive of Northrop Grumman Europe, added: “Creating greater awareness of STEM and building a more diverse workforce are global imperatives, and CyberCenturion is spearheading these efforts, helping to address the urgent need to foster the cyber talent of the future.

“CyberCenturion continues to grow and provide opportunities to engage young people who are curious about technology and cyber security, and eager to put their existing skills to the test. We look forward to an exciting national finals competition.”

 

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