Young cyber security stars to compete at Bletchley Park

Ten teams of the UK’s finest 12-18 year old amateur cyber talent have been selected to battle at the CyberCenturion Final

After three gruelling rounds of intense online cyber battles, the ten teams to qualify for the 2016 CyberCenturion National Final competition have been selected. Over the last four months, schools and clubs from across the UK and overseas territories have entered teams of their brightest pupils to compete against each other for a place in the final, which will take place on the 26th April 2016 at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

The final, hosted by Cyber Security Challenge UK in partnership with Northrop Grumman, will see teams compete in person to show their cyber skills in front of the world’s top cyber experts. The team that won the 2015 competition, KEGS Sixth, from King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford in Essex is among those that have qualified for this year’s final and will be attempting to defend their title in the ultimate battle of young cyber minds.

CyberCenturion is the UK’s first team-based cyber security contest specifically designed to attract 12-18 year olds. The competition aims to engage talented young people as a way to address the national skills gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and encourages careers in cyber security. ISC2, the world’s largest association of cyber security professionals, has predicted a shortage of 1.5m skilled workers in the cyber industry by 2020, and Procurre anticipates cyber security careers to command salaries of over £100,000 a year. Encouraging young people into this lucrative sector is critical for the security of our digital economy, and CyberCenturion represents an entry point for young minds that are interested.

CyberCenturion is addressing a critical skills gap in the UK by inspiring our youth to become tomorrow’s much-needed cyber leaders

The competition mirrors the US CyberPatriot game, part of a major American STEM education programme presented and delivered by the Northrop Grumman Foundation and the non-profit Air Force Association, which has already engaged well over 250,000 children and educated them on the opportunities in cyber security across the US. An impressive 80% of those who have taken part now plan to pursue a higher education course in a STEM subject. The Air Force Association also supplies the competition platform for the CyberCenturion competition.

“CyberCenturion is addressing a critical skills gap in the UK by inspiring our youth to become tomorrow’s much-needed cyber leaders,” said Diane Miller, director of CyberPatriot Programs at Northrop Grumman. “The competition continues to get more challenging throughout every round, helping participants not only to hone their technical skills, but improve their communication, leadership, and collaboration skills.” Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “The participation in this years’ CyberCenturion has been incredible, with dozens of teams from across the country vying for a spot in the finals. Congratulations to those who have qualified; we look forward to seeing the brightest young stars in action at the final.”