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Cyber skills for good not evil

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

Cyber Security Challenge UK and National Crime Agency have collaborated with Metropolitan Police in an ongoing effort to help young cyber talent to put their technical skills to positive use.

Cyber Security Challenge UK has joined forces once again with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and this weekend delivered the fifth in its UK-wide series of Intervention Days, this time in partnership with the London Metropolitan Police.

Hosted by BT, the programme welcomed both young people who are highly technically skilled and those who have already received low level interventions, including cease and desist orders or cautions.

The programme invites parents and guardians to attend a dedicated agenda, designed to help them in supporting young people to positively progress in their lives.

Both tracks showcased the growing number of opportunities to put cyber skills to lawful use in lucrative careers and include technical exercises, sessions on social responsibilities online as well as an introduction to the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

Delegates also heard from an ex-hacktivist, who having realised their skills and interests could be used both ethically and legally in a professional environment, now works as a Cyber Security SOC Director.

cyber skills

Detective Sergeant Natalie Cabot from the Metropolitan Police’s Central Specialist Crime Command said,“Cybercrime is a serious criminal offence and a conviction can adversely affect a young person’s future prospects, with sentences of up to life imprisonment for the most serious offences.”

“Despite common misconceptions, it is not a victimless crime. It can have a devastating effect on individuals, businesses and the UK economy as a whole.”

“The great thing is that the same skills that can be used to commit this type of crime can be used in a challenging, profitable and legal way.”

“Our aim in supporting Cyber Security Challenge UK with this event is to harness the transferable skills of the participants and channel their abilities positively into activities which could then be used as a hobby, or to develop a lucrative career in this exciting and expanding industry.”

Joining the Metropolitan Police and the NCA are a mix of local and national cyber security firms and experts including NCC Group, information assurance firm headquartered in Manchester, as well as the Head of the BT Security Academy and Head of Commercial Development in Penetration Testing at BT.

Industry partners involved are not only keen to deter those who are at risk of offending, but are also enthusiastic to hire young people with strong technical skill sets in a global effort to plug the cyber skills gap.

The NCA reports that increasing numbers of teens are getting involved in cybercrime, often for fun and with a poor understanding of the consequences, but the penalties and impact on their education and career prospects can be severe.

It’s more important than ever that public and private organisations work together to tackle this problem that simultaneously relates to the global shortfall in cybersecurity workers, currently estimated by non-profit organisation ISC to stand at 3 million.

Cyber Security Challenge UK is proud to work alongside the NCA to lead early intervention measures; essential in a world where cyber skills are highly transferable to any industry alongside rapidly evolving cyber risks and threats. 

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