CSCUK

Students participate in first ever virtual CyberCenturion National Finals demonstrate their cyber security skills are out of this world

 

  • 15 teams of young people from across the UK, Isle of Man and Gibraltar met virtually to compete for the national title of CyberCenturion VII winners on Thursday 29 April.
  • This year’s finalists represent an outstanding competition season in which more than ever took part virtually, demonstrating grit and determination against hundreds of technically-skilled students and cadets to secure their place.
  • Hosted online for the first time ever, the specially developed Cyber Frontier game challenges competitors to address simulated cyber security risks targeting advanced and highly sensitive systems in the space industry.

30 April 2021, UK – Four students aged 17 and 18 representing Bristol, Bradford and Potters Bar have won first prize in this nationwide cyber security competition.

CyberCenturion is a competition open to students aged 12-18 in the UK and British Overseas Territories, giving secondary school pupils the opportunity to develop and test their cyber security skills through a series of simulated challenges designed to reflect real-world situations. Sponsored by Northrop Grumman and increasingly well-recognised by students and employers nationally, CyberCenturion represents one of the most inclusive and accessible programmes designed to engage and develop cyber talent.

At the first ever virtual edition of the National Finals on 29 April 2021, students were tasked with identifying potential vulnerabilities in the space engineering IT infrastructure of fictional company ‘New Gen’ in order to demonstrate their technical skills and win the competition.

Four boys gathered around a computer in a collaborative working space
Pictured: Second place Senior All Boys team, CyberAces, from Isle of Man Code Club during CyberCenturion VII National Finals

Before the challenges got underway, space shuttle pilot Terry Virts wished the students luck ahead of their last minute preparations for the four-hour challenge. An online awards ceremony took place on 30 April, when early-stage tech investor and Computer Science graduate, Eileen Burbidge MBE, joined Nick Chaffey, chief executive for Northrop Grumman UK, Europe and Middle East, and Frank Zaborowski, Senior Director of CyberPatriot Operations, Air Force Association. The panel of presenters officially announced the winners of the Junior and Senior categories and congratulated all of the finalists for reaching the final.  It was also an opportunity to encourage this next generation of UK cyber talent to pursue their enthusiasm for STEM subjects and the world of career opportunities in cyber ahead of them.

Cyber continues to buck the downward economic trends seen in other sectors, with rapid growth and innovation at its core. Employers across many sectors are intensifying their efforts to attract greater diversity of thought and experience as this growing sector tackles today’s threats and anticipates those of tomorrow.

Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman [UK, Europe and Middle East], Nick Chaffey said: “Cyber Centurion in the UK is different than many other competitions as it requires genuine teamwork to succeed. Like the careers that are open to these young stars, cyber is not an individual sport but a team game.  Each finalist brings their own unique skills, creative and lateral thinking to the team, in the same way that Northrop Grumman’s experts do as they solve our customers’ greatest challenges. Cyber security is a broad community, welcoming and nurturing diversity in all its forms, and in our sector that means we can offer a wide range of paths to develop skills and specialisms that presents opportunities for interesting, rewarding and varied careers.

Dr Robert Nowill, Chairman, Cyber Security Challenge UK added: “When we launched CyberCenturion VII midway through a global pandemic, we had yet to realise the truly limitless potential and resilience of our competitor and team leader cohort. A strong contingent of brand new sign ups joined multiple teams who return year on year to further develop their increasingly sought after skill set. We are immensely proud of not only their outstanding ability in the cyber security field, but also of their show of resilience during testing times. CyberCenturion has always been something to look forward to, and this year, thanks to the highly connected world we find ourselves in, the programme has proven that nothing can stand in the way of today’s young cyber talent and their relentless desire to learn.”

As a result of their impressive performance at the final where they topped the leaderboard with high scores, Team 🕶 [sunglasses emoji] has won an all-expenses paid trip to the United States with Northrop Grumman, including visits to the Pentagon and the NASA space research facility.

Finalists were joined on the day by school peers, who supported the teams and helped to recreate the atmosphere and excitement of the national finals by being the official photographers, video content producers and journalists that would usually be present at the face-to-face event.

 

Click for the full list of category winners.

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Close up of CyberCenturion trophy and medals

Contact Scarlett at cybercenturion@scarlettlondon.com for interviews, high res imagery and further information. 

Notes to editors:

Interviews are available with spokespeople from Northrop Grumman and Cyber Security Challenge UK, as well as finalist schools. 

  • CyberCenturion is the UK edition of the global CyberPatriot programme, sponsored and led by Northrop Grumman, designed by the U.S. Airforce Association and delivered in the UK in partnership with Cyber Security Challenge UK.
  • CyberCenturion VII adopted the theme of space to highlight the huge opportunity for young people from all backgrounds in cybersecurity linked to the pioneering work Northrop Grumman does. This ranges from the lunar landing module for the Apollo programmes to the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) and James Webb Space Telescope today.
  • Senior Division First Place – Team sunglasses emoji) (remote team from all over UK), Second Place – CyberAces (Isle of Man Code Club), Third Place – <Error 4040: Team Name Not Found> (St George’s School, Edgbaston)
  • Junior Division First Place – SGSE Y9 (St George’s School, Edgbaston), Second Place – Caesar Cyber (Trinity School, Croydon), Third Place – Somebody (Bayside School, Gibraltar)

About Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defence and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

The company is committed to building tomorrow’s cyber workforce through advanced cyber education, developing a Cyber Research Consortium with leading UK universities and offering its own Cyber Academy worldwide. Northrop Grumman is a member of CyberFirst and CyberInvest, and leads CyberCenturion, the cyber defence competition for 12-18 year olds. For information about careers in cyber in the UK go to http://www.northropgrumman.com/careers.

Please visit news.northropgrumman.com and follow us Twitter, @NGCNews  for our global news, or in the UK at https://www.linkedin.com/company/northrop-grumman-in-the-uk/

About Cyber Security Challenge UK

Cyber Security Challenge UK is a non-profit organisation backed by some of the UK’s leading public, private and academic bodies with a longstanding mission to encourage more cyber security talent into the pipeline. Known for its comprehensive back catalogue of nationwide competitions and events, the Challenge works with technical experts and industry professionals to proactively reduce the global cyber security skills gap. Established in 2009, Cyber Security Challenge UK now offers a variety of programmes to nurture fresh talent, from younger years to adult career changers, and supports key diversity and social mobility objectives representing a field that offers rewarding opportunities for all. For more information about Cyber Security Challenge UK visit – https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/