The online competition starts on 29 January and closes on 5 February 2018, with a live final in Manchester for the top ten teams on 18-19 March.
- Female pupils encouraged to create teams to enter nationwide cyber security challenge
- NCSC and GCHQ experts have devised 100 challenges for the teams to crack
- Global shortage of female cyber security staff – but 8,000 UK girls entered 2017 contest
Registration for the online phase of the 2018 CyberFirst Girls Competition, run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, opens today [Tuesday, 16 January].
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 regex (regular expression) crosswords.
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.
GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming said:
- Team guardians can register their teams from 16 January at https://www.cyberfirst.ncsc.gov.uk/girlscompetition. Team guardians can enter multiple teams and posters and other resources for teachers can also be found on this site.
- The online competition starts on 29 January and closes on 5 February 2018.
- The UK Government is fully committed to defending against cyber threats and address the cyber skills gap to develop and grow talent. The NCSC was created as part of the five year National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) announced in 2016, supported by £1.9billion of transformational investment.
- The NCSC provides a single, central body for cyber security at a national level and is the UK’s technical authority on cyber. It manages national cyber security incidents, carries out real-time threat analysis and provides tailored sectoral advice. GCHQ is the parent body for the Centre, meaning that it can draw on the organisation’s world-class skills and sensitive capabilities.
CyberFirst Girls Competition 2017
- Over 2,000 teams involving over 8,000 girls entered the 2017 competition. On average, 30,000 answers were submitted every 24 hours, with over 200,000 answers submitted over the seven days of the online phase.
- Details of the Top 100 schools to enter the online phase of the competition – before the Top 10 took part in the grand final – can be found here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/cyberfirst-girls-competition-top-100.
- For more on the 2017 final, see: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/girls-impress-judges-national-final-cyber-security-contest.
- Pictures from the final are available here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/gallery/cyberfirst-girls-competition-final-lancaster-house.