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Cyber skills earn ten young finalists a place on Team UK

As part of the 2019 Santander European Cyber Security Challenge, ten young cyber savvy finalists have earned themselves a coveted place on Team UK.

Having battled it out against 42 contestants from across the country last Friday (22nd March) in Leicester, the skills of 10 young cyber enthusiasts earned them each a place as part of Team UK.

The chosen ten will then go on to compete together in the European Cyber Security Challenge 2019 finals in Romania this October.

Only those who scored highest in two previous online qualifiers, developed by RangeForce, were invited to attend last Friday’s event.

These online qualifiers simulate real-life scenarios that cybersecurity professionals face on a daily basis and assessed participants on a range of criteria including their skills in attack strategies, technical security, and network defence.

Last year, Cyber Security Challenge UK hosted the European Cyber Security Challenge finals in London alongside Cyber Re:coded, the biggest entry level cyber careers fair in Europe, where Team UK scooped an impressive third place. This year Team UK will have their eyes on first place.

This year’s event, in partnership with Santander, put contestants’ skills to the test as they competed live in a specially-developed game scenario called API Bleed.

All aspects of the challenge were fictitious, yet resembling perfectly feasible real-life cybersecurity threats.

API Bleed is based on the remote island of Pigmonia where the rogue hacktivist group, Acronymous, is bribed by a state actor to use their skills to destabilise the Pigmonian government.

In order to win, contestants had to work together in teams to stop the attack and bring order back to the tiny island nation.

Now in its eighth year, Cyber Security Challenge UK was established to uncover, inspire and support the UK’s untapped talent in cybersecurity in an effort to plug the growing cyber skills gap, a problem that is not only an issue within the UK, but on a global scale.

According to ISC research the global shortage of cyber security professionals will reach three million by 2020.

Emma Leith, chief information security officer, Santander UK said“It’s vital that the UK develops the wide variety of cyber skills which are becoming increasingly critical in all types of organisations.”

“We’re proud to partner with the Cyber Security Challenge UK, a fantastic initiative which really helps young people explore their passion for technology and the world of cyber security and celebrates up and coming cyber talent.

“In a world where cyber threats continue to evolve, our aim is to ensure we invest in these skills and inspire the next generation to become the cyber experts of tomorrow.”

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