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TMCNet:  Pupils cracked the code for a future in cyber-security [Gloucestershire Echo (England)]

[June 09, 2014]

Pupils cracked the code for a future in cyber-security [Gloucestershire Echo (England)]

(Gloucestershire Echo (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) FOUR teams of code crackers got busy tackling a mixture of exercises to challenge their brain power.

The school teams, made up of 14 to 17-year-olds, from across the UK, dealt with a mixture of cyber security treasure hunts and code cracking exercises within a counter-terrorism scenario.

The Cyber Security Challenge Schools Final, held at the Cheltenham Science Festival and Cheltenham College was organised with global technology and defence company Raytheon and The Smallpeice Trust.

Cyber Games 2.0 is the final of a programme backed by the Cabinet Office that aims to raise awareness within schools of the exciting careers in cyber security. After months of code-breaking lessons and a virtual competition run in IT lessons and after school coding cubs around the UK, the final of the programme brought together two teams from Stockport School, and one each from Grimsby Institute and Cheltenham College.

Launched last year at the Cheltenham Science Festival, the Cyber Security Challenge Schools Programme was delivered in association with major employers, professional bodies and other leading figures in UK cyber security including BT, Sophos, Cassidian, CompTIA, QinetiQ, eskills UK and Bletchley Park.

Aimed to develop practical skills in high demand from the cyber security industry, the programme begins with teaching packs designed by sponsors to spark students' interest in code-breaking, the building blocks of securing information online.

The lesson plans hone pupils' skills by teaching them how to crack codes and encouraging them to work together in teams to apply what they have learned and develop uncrackable ciphers. The codes were then submitted to the challenge and posted online.

Students from participating schools were then challenged to crack each other's ciphers in order to score sufficient points to qualify for a Cyber Games final where the schools champions are identified.

Brian Higgins, schools programme manager for the challenge, said: "By not only introducing pupils to the exciting world of cyber security at an early age, but also giving them an opportunity to talk to professionals at the likes of Raytheon, pupils can see there are exciting jobs doing this for real." (c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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