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Cyber challenge

Thirty UK amateur cyber security enthusiasts arrived at Bletchley Park on Saturday to compete in the latest Cyber Security Challenge, the first at the site of the UK’s main decryption base during the Second World War. After three hours of game play, six were identified in the search for talent to protect the UK from hackers and computer viruses. Each will take their place at the 2014 Masterclass, the grand finale of the Challenge, a nationwide competition to address a skills shortage in the cyber security sector.

Stephanie Daman, CEO of the Cyber Security Challenge said: “It was wonderful to host one of our face-to-face challenges at such a historic centre for our profession and I hope the location served as an inspiration for the talented set of candidates we saw today. For anyone with a keen interest in the future health of UK cyber security, the efforts by the teams here at Bletchley over 60 years ago are a powerful reminder of what can be achieved by bringing together the right people. In modern Britain finding those with the talent to protect us from the increasing threat of cybercrime is a fundamental priority and with the help of SANS we have again today highlighted the depth of untapped talent that could potentially be drawn on in this on-going battle.”

During SANS NetWars, contestants competed in a simulated environment to test their defensive, analysis, and offensive cyber skills, fighting off intruders while trying to take over other target systems and networks. After three hours of competition, the top six ranked competitors were announced as Christopher Moore, 22, Software Engineer from Cambridge; Kurtis Brown, 27, Support Agent from Glasgow; Edward Sobey, 25, Associate System Engineer from Nottingham; Sam Brown, 20, Software Engineer from Wymondham; Paul Mason, 37, from Glasgow and Duncan Barclay, 26, Web Developer from Bath. Each secured their place at the Challenge’s Masterclass final in March.

Christopher Moore, the overall winner on Saturday, said: “Winning the competition in the historic setting of Bletchley Park has been a unique experience. It’s fantastic to use SANS NetWars – something already employed by governments and organisations around the world to test and improve cyber skills. The game has not only given me an idea of my particular skills but also areas where I can improve. I can’t wait to attend the Masterclass in March – it’s an amazing opportunity to learn even more.”

NetWars, provided by the SANS Institute, is a hands-on interactive learning cyber range used around the globe. Players are challenged to explore common vulnerabilities and show an understanding of the impact of deploying insecure systems. Players have to demonstrate ability to research the issues and execute attacks.

“Today’s competition provided a great opportunity for the Cyber Security Challenge contestants to test their skills in a real life, practical way. NetWars allows us to assess and highlight the capabilities of UK InfoSec professionals,” says Tom Carver, Director of Cyber Talent at the SANS Institute, “It is one of the toughest challenges any contestants will face during the Challenge but feedback again was very positive, mainly because it’s great fun too.”

Anyone interested in entering or sponsoring or finding out more about the Cyber Security Challenge should visit


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