From education to employment

Mo Rahman named as 2017 Cyber Security Challenge UK champion

After a gruelling 3-day cyber-attack simulation, the best cyber security amateur in the UK has been found. Mo, a 22-year-old computer science student came out on top, setting himself apart from more than 40 other contestants.

Team Daman, named aptly after the late Cyber Security Challenge UK CEO and true champion for education in cyber security Stephanie Daman, took the honours as overall team winners. The team included Caroline Haigh, David, Harrison Speight, Joshua Green, Justin Rowley, Thomas Steven Brook, two of which were below the age of 20.

They were judged as the outstanding group in the Cyber Security Challenge UK’s Masterclass competition, the country’s premier, government-backed cyber skills competition to unearth the country’s best cyber security talent. 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.

The competition was created by BT in partnership with defence leader Airbus and IT world leader Cisco, with support from NCA, 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 contestants’ performances against real life job requirements, including technical proficiencies and soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication.

The contestants were also required to present a legal case in a mock courtroom in front of prosecution and defence barristers, as well as a judge.

The Challenge works with some of the top organisations in the cyber security industry to design and implement its programme of competitions. This helps to add realism to the challenges, as well as ensuring that all of the skills tested and taught are those that companies are looking to find and recruit. Over the years, 50% of the candidates that have competed in the Challenge’s Masterclass and face-to-face rounds have gone on into jobs in the industry.

As the UK’s reigning Cyber Security Challenge Champion, the team now receives a choice of rewards from a collection of career-enhancing prizes including valuable industry training, university courses, and access to strategic industry events – all provided by Challenge sponsors including 7Safe PA Consulting, Blackhat Europe, Bsides London, Cocidius Defence, CompTia, CREST, De Montfort University, e2e Assure, IAAC, IISP, ISC2, NCC Group, Royal Holloway University, SANS

Nigel Harrison, Acting CEO, Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “This year’s Masterclass has tested a more diverse range of skills than ever before to truly reflect the scale of modern cyber security. Not only were contestants tested on their technical proficiencies, they were tasked with building a legal case against a suspected cybercriminal, something is increasingly seen in court rooms today.

“Our sponsors design competitions for us, to provide gifted individuals with a safe environment to showcase their skills in front of prospective employers. If you have an inquisitive mind and an interest in cyber security, we encourage you to sign up today and you could be at the forefront of securing our digital world.”

Mo Rahman, winner of Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass 2017 said: “Winning this competition is a huge honour for me. Cyber Security Challenge UK provides the next generation of cyber enthusiasts with the chance to team up with like-minded people and creates a network of talent.

“Competitions such as this equip you to deal with a huge number of challenges and provide you with a direct route to industry. Cyber Security Challenge UK was a principal factor for my interest in cyber security and in kick starting my career.

“The experience I have gained over the last couple of days is unrivalled and simply can’t be obtained outside of these real world settings. Working with industry experts has given me the confidence to enter the industry and pursue a career in an area that I have developed a true passion for.”

About the Masterclass Final

The competition began on Sunday night, where the contestants were split into teams and were tasked to work out the location and retrieve a USB stick hidden in London. As they travelled through the city, they were tailed by operatives from the National Crime Agency, who attempted to intercept them and test their abilities to keep their confidential information hidden from prying eyes.

On Sunday, the contestants played the role of security consultants, brought in to investigate a suspected insider threat at fictitious shipping company Fast Freight Limited. They soon discovered that a newly appointed COO was to blame for the missing files and that he had been working with cybercrime group Scorpius – a crime syndicate notorious for attacking organisations across the world and extorting them for money. Across the two-days, they defended the company from cyber-attacks, conducted forensic analysis and helped to build a case against the corrupt COO, all using top-quality tools from the industry consortium’s portfolio and a unique platform created by the team at De Montfort University’s Cyber Technology Institute.

At the end of the two days, each team presented evidence to a mock court of law, featuring real barristers. This was to ensure that all information was obtained lawfully and that there was sufficient evidence to charge the individual; a situation often faced by those in the cyber security industry where a crime has been committed.

The Masterclass is the grand finale of a year’s worth of online and face-to-face qualifying rounds, which has seen thousands of cyber amateurs compete against each other in qualifying competitions created by the Challenge’s sponsor community. This year the team was joined by six of the top talents from Cyber Security Challenge Singapore, to help build collaborative working networks between the two countries and showcase each nation’s talents.

Like what you see? Play now

After all the excitement of this year’s Masterclass final, the Challenge is ready to do it all over again. Register with the Challenge to compete in next year’s programme. A host of competitions are available to play now. Using our new play-on-demand system, which allows access to games any time, you could sign up and take part in just a matter of clicks. Why not be part of one of the UK’s fastest growing and most exciting sector?

About Cyber Security Challenge UK:

With the backing of founding sponsors like the SANS Institute, the Challenge started out in 2010 to create a series of virtual and face-to-face competitions that would identify talented people for the cyber security industry. Now in its 6th year, the Challenge is backed by over 50 of the UK’s most prestigious public, private and academic organisations, and hosts a wide programme of activities designed to spread the word about why cyber security is such a fulfilling and varied career and help talented people get their first cyber security jobs. Working from school level right through to helping career changers making the transition across, the Challenge is making a notable difference to the career prospects of those with the talents and aptitude to become cyber security professionals.


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