Computer science student wins 2017 UK Cyber Security Challenge

Cyber attack simulation challenge sees 22-year-old computer science student crowned UK amateur cyber security champion

After a three-day cyber attack simulation, 22-year-old computer science student Mo Rahman came out on top in the 2017 Cyber Security Challenge UK, setting himself apart from more than 40 other contestants.

Team Daman, named after the late Cyber Security Challenge UK CEO Stephanie Daman, took the honours as overall team winners. The team included Caroline Haigh, David B, Harrison Speight, Joshua Green, Justin Rowley and Thomas Steven Brook.

The team, which included two members under the age of 20, was judged as the most outstanding group in the Cyber Security Challenge UK’s Masterclass competition, the country’s government-backed cyber skills contest to find the country’s best cyber security talent, in the face of a serious skills shortage.

Masterclass, the finale of a year-long series of online and face-to-face qualifying competitions – saw the top 42 brightest amateur talents from thousands of entrants investigate a data breach on a fictional shipping company, fend off live cyber attacks and build a courtroom case against a corrupt chief operating officer.

This year’s competition was created by BT in partnership with Airbus and Cisco, with support from the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Bank of England, Checkpoint, De Montfort University and 4PumpCourt.

Set in Trinity House, the home of UK shipping navigation, the contestants competed in front of experts from the cyber security industry, who assessed and ranked their performances against real-life job requirements, including technical proficiencies and soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication.

Contestants were split into teams and were tasked to work out the location of, and retrieve, a USB stick hidden in London. They were then called upon to play the role of security consultants, brought in to investigate a suspected insider threat at a fictitious shipping company, where the newly appointed COO was to blame for the missing files and was working with a cyber crime group.

Across two days, the contestants defended the company against cyber attacks, conducted forensic analysis and helped to build and present a legal case against the corrupt COO in a mock courtroom.

The competition is designed to be as realistic as possible and to ensure that all the skills tested and taught are those that companies are looking to find in recruits. According to the completion organisers, half the candidates who have reached the Masterclass and face-to-face rounds in the past have gone on to jobs in the cyber security industry.

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