Hopefuls will have a puzzling time of it - The Evesham Observer

Hopefuls will have a puzzling time of it

Evesham Editorial 17th Feb, 2018   0

YOUNG girls from Evesham and Pershore schools are being invited to show they are the cream of the codebreaking crop in a national competition.

Registration for the online phase of the 2018 CyberFirst Girls Competition, run by the National Cyber Security Centre opened last week and offers a series of head-scratching online challenges to uncover the UK’s brightest cyber minds.

Those interested could follow in the footsteps of students from Pershore High School who finished in the top 100 of the inaugural competition last year which saw 8,000 girls take part.

NCSC and GCHQ experts have devised 100 challenges of varying difficulty for female pupils aged 12 to 13 to complete during the online phase.

The entrants’ intellect and cyber skills will be tested as they decrypt a series of specially-created logic boxes and crosswords.

This year’s top 10 scoring teams will be invited to take part in a live national head-to-head final in Manchester in March 2018.

GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said: “Too often, society limits girls in what they aspire to achieve. “Our CyberFirst Girls Competition will give teams the opportunity to develop new skills, meet new people and gain an exciting insight into the world of national security.”

The competition is for girls in Year 8 in England and Wales, S2 in Scotland and Year 9 in Northern Ireland.

They can enter in teams of up to four, along with a teacher who will act as a mentor and guardian.

This year’s winning school will receive a grand prize of £1,000 towards their school’s IT equipment, while each winner will take home individual prizes.

It is hoped the fun contest could spark a lifelong interest in the girls which could be turned into a fulfilling career in cyber security, helping make the UK one of the safest places to live and do business online.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Skills and Growth, said: “Females are worryingly under-represented in the global cyber workforce, but there are exceptionally talented girls in our schools.

”We hope this competition can help to knock down some of the barriers holding them back.”

Visit cyberfirst.ncsc.gov.uk/girlscompetition to register.

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