The UK’s top tech enthusiasts are taking part this week in a Europe-wide challenge to find the region’s best codebreakers.
Now in its second year, the European Cyber Security Challenge is inspired by the growing popularity of national competitions across Britain and the continent.
Competitors are tasked with a series of challenges, testing skills including network analysis, digital forensics and cryptography.
The competition not only serves to raise the profile of cybersecurity among 14-30-year-olds but also provides organizations like BT with a stream of talented amateurs to recruit and train up.
"This offers the UK a chance to showcase its talent on the European stage,” said Debbie Tunstall, universities programme manager, Cyber Security Challenge UK.
“We’re excited about the progress we’re making in the UK and we’re keen to show the rest of Europe just how good the UK’s cyber security talent is. We have a very strong team heading to the Dusseldorf to represent the UK and we’ll be watching closely to see how they fare.”
The week-long competition will see the UK’s finest battle rival teams from Germany, Spain, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Greece, Ireland and Estonia.
It’s open to anyone between the ages of 14 and 30-years-old on the day they begin the national-level qualification rounds.
Those with a Bachelor’s Degree are allowed in, but not those with a Master’s Degree in computing or a related discipline.
This year’s UK team competing in Dusseldorf has an average age of just over 20, with several teenage students sitting alongside experience in the form of 27-year-old IRM data analyst, John Moss, and 23-year-old BT cybersecurity technical specialist, Jessica Williams.
The competition follows that Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass final held last week in which 18-year-old student Ben Jackson won the coveted title, beating 41 other talented amateurs in a three-day cyber-attack simulation held in London.