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Cyber scenario challenge

Barclays was weekend host of the Cyber Security Challenge UK, when an immersive competition tested 30 cyber enthusiasts. The competition required contestants to adopt the role of interns at a fictitious cyber firm, who had to defend their company from a cyber-attack, triggered by an insider, while their superiors were on a team-building canoeing trip.

The competition is the last of 2017’s Cyber Security Challenge UK face-to-face competitions to find UK hidden cyber talent and place them in public and private sector cyber security roles. The competition took place in Radbroke Hall, near Knutsford, Cheshire, which is also the site of Barclays’ Technology Centre. In the scenario, the ‘interns’, who were staffing a fictitious security firm called ‘Research4U’, had to act after a hacking group began stealing source code and client data. The story saw hackers demand a ransom of £10m to prevent releasing the data to the press.

Competitors had to infiltrate and stop the fictional hacker group, to destroy the leaked information before it could be released to the ‘press’. Cyber specialists from Barclays and others in industry assessed the contestants on their vulnerability assessment, reconnaissance, attack strategies and espionage skills, to rank their performance and suitability for careers in the industry.

The winning team was team Wormhole: Carolyn Yates, Isabel Whistlecroft, Kajusz Dykiel, Peter Campbell and Waldo Woch.

The eight contestants that have qualified for next month’s Masterclass grand finale were: Cameron Howes, Asher Caswell, Tom Brook, Vlad Ellis, Mohammed Rahman, David Young, Rajiv Shah and Isabel Whistlecroft. They will join winners from earlier in the year at masterclasses. They have the opportunity to network with industry figures, and to gain prizes including degree scholarships, training courses, technology and gadgets and industry memberships.

The competition organisers say that the scenario mirrored recent high profile attacks, such as WannaCry, where hackers held organisations to ransom.

Troels Oerting, Barclays Group Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Group Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) said:
“The best way to learn about cyber security is to engage in realistic scenarios, such as the competition that we’ve just hosted. Saturday’s event created a scenario that really tested a candidate’s ability to perform under pressure, think strategically, work as a team and display leadership skills. A career in cyber security requires various skills, including the ability to second-guess hackers and make critical decisions quickly. It was very encouraging to see students so immersed in solving the challenge we set them, and I wish all the candidates the very best in their careers.”

And Nigel Harrison, acting Chief Executive of Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “This year’s scenarios have been varied in nature in order to demonstrate the range of cyber threats that this nation faces as well as the sheer breadth of sectors that need cyber security professionals – from banking and finance, to automotive and even retail. Sponsors, like Barclays make this possible and, in turn, help to open the door to dozens more careers. I would like to encourage any budding cyber security specialist, or ‘white hat hackers’, to consider applying for our competitions. The nation faces a growing cyber security threat, so we are in real need of talent that can keep organisations, and the public, secure. Why not Challenge Yourself today?”


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