On March 15th I was invited to the 2014 Cyber Security Challenge UK Awards Ceremony at the Institute of Directors. I’ve been working with the Cyber Security Challenge over the last couple of months to create a completely new website for them, see here (due to launch soon).

The organisation was set up to encourage more talented people to join the cyber security profession and is sponsored by groups and companies as diverse as GCHQ, Symantec, HP and Royal Mail (among many others).

Each year they set up a series of challenges – from online competitions to full-on terrorist attack simulations. These led up to the final ‘masterclass’ which involved 42 of the best players that had beaten their way through to the final round. This challenge was designed to test a wide variety of skills – and to add to the stress it took place over two days in an underground bunker beneath London within the Churchill War Rooms. The finalists had to contend with warning lights flashing away, sirens going off, briefings to ministers and press conferences to manage – all the while trying to contain an increasing (simulated) cyber attack on the UK’s infrastructure – scary stuff!

In the end, 19 year old Will Shackleton was awarded the top prize – and has pretty much guaranteed a top job in the industry. The awards themselves were a glitzy affair in a wonderful location. The only worrying point of the evening came right at the end – when the ceremony was interrupted with a rather terrifying video message from a group calling themselves the ‘Flag Day Associates’. I’m not sure whether this was a real terrorist warning – or maybe clever way to kick off the start of the next series of ‘challenges’ – take a look below and decide for yourselves!

More info about the event:

» GCHQ – Cyber Security Finals

» The Inquirer – 19 year old student becomes UK Cyber Champion

» Cyber Security Challenge – who are the ‘Flag Day Associates’?