Searching for the next generation of cyber security experts 

The Bank of England has hosted its first Face to Face competition, in partnership with Cyber Security Challenge UK

There is an urgent need to find the people that will protect and safeguard businesses, people and their data. In response, a number of banks and financial institutions are investing in their cyber security, particularly personnel. Cyber Security Challenge UK, a non-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring and enabling people to seek careers in the cyber security industry, partnered with the Bank of England to launch the Face-to-Face cyber security competition. The event tested 30 untapped talents to identify the next generation of experts in the field.

The Face to Face competition took place at the Bank of England, bringing together the 30 best performers from a series of qualifying tests entered by hundreds of applicants from across the UK. Competitors were aged from 16-58, with 60% in secondary or further education, and two-thirds participating in their first ever Cyber Security Challenge UK event. The participants worked in teams to complete a series of banking-themed games and challenges developed by the Bank of England’s own security team. Each task was specially created to simulate the experience of working as part of the security team at a leading financial institution, while testing the technical and personal skills that set the best cyber security professionals apart.

“As an organisation responsible for technology that settles some £575 billion sterling payments and securities every day; acts as the Governments’ banking institution; supervises the financial industry; tracks all bank notes in circulation and circa £140 billion of gold deposits in the vault; it is little wonder that cyber security is at the forefront of the Bank of England’s agenda,” said Rob Elsey, Executive Director for Technology. “We’re well aware of the skills shortage in the industry and are committed to supporting efforts to encourage the next generation of cyber professionals. So after sponsoring Cyber Security Challenge UK for a number of years we were delighted to take our involvement to the next level by hosting this Face to Face event.”

Participants were faced with a variety of fast-moving challenges, including combatting and containing a cyber attack; planning and improving a security architecture; educating staff to protect themselves from phishing attacks; and carrying out a forensic investigation in the aftermath of an attack. The top performing players secured a place at the end of year final in October, which will crown the rising stars of UK cyber security. Outstanding participants will have the chance to be invited to interview for a place on the Bank of England’s own security team.

The next Face to Face competition takes place on Friday 15th June in Manchester. For more information on Cyber Security Challenge UK and the work it is doing, please visit: https://www.cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/