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First Cyber Camp at Lancaster University a Success

Building on the success of the university being awarded Academic Cyber Security Centre of Excellence status, the Security Lancaster team partnered with The Cyber Security Challenge UK and hosted an intensive five-day training camp for some of the UK's most talented young cyber security enthusiasts.

Watch the highlights of the camp

Between Wednesday 5 September to Sunday 9 September, 22 candidates faced a series of security exercises developed by experts from organisations such as the Metropolitan Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU), Raytheon, QinetiQ, HP and KPMG. Candidates also received advice on interview techniques and CV writing in order to improve their chances of landing their first job in cyber security.

Stephanie Daman, CEP of Cyber Security Challenge UK explains

"We're in our third year of operation and we're about trying to get people into the profession. We do that using really exciting national competitions which encourage people to benchmark and test their skills and learn from that that actually that they have the right skills to enter the profession. We encourage them to do so with careers advice and as much help as we can provide."

The majority of the candidates attending the cyber camp were under 25 and were specially selected from several hundred participants. Day one started with a challenge provided by KPMG, a simulated attack and defend scenario of a virtual nuclear power station, with delegates getting points for detecting intrusions to the network and extracting corporate secrets. The second day attended has to develop a business proposal and pitch their ideas back to a group of dragons selected from Lancaster University, Raytheon and the Venture Capital community.

As part of the Challenge, on Friday 7 September, Security Lancaster hosted The Cyber Security Careers Fair, the first event of its kind. The event provided a vital conduit for employers and potential employees to engage and discuss careers in the cyber security industry and was attended by major employers in UK cyber security and defence. These included industry leaders such as HP, QinetiQ, KPMG, and Cassidan, professional and education bodies such as CompTIA, (ISC)2, CREST, Infosec Skills, 7Safe, Royal Holloway, Ultimate Graphics, and the Police E Crime Unit were also represented.

Mr Eric Ollerenshaw OBE MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood visited the camp "from a government perspective, with the digital world we are in, security is a huge issue, security for British business and British public institutions and the commercial opportunities for British companies in marketing security across the world".

After observing the Cyber Security Challenge participants, he said "It's amazing, Lancaster again leading the away, there are commercial companies here observing what's going on and there's a string commercial angle to the event. The imagination and the skills that the groups have are mind-blowing really."

Dr Daniel Prince "It was fantastic to meet Mr Ollerenshaw and have an opportunity to showcase the work that we are doing regionally and nationally to help support the UK national security strategy. Being an academic centre of excellence in cyber security research gives security Lancaster the opportunity to act as a regional hub of cyber security excellence in order to support and help to grow the regional and national economy."

Day three focused on digital forensics Security Lancaster, the Police Central e-Crime Unit and Micro Systemation designed an investigation around mobile phone forensics and helped attendees understand how to recover evidence in order to support an on-going investigation. Day four saw the attendees develop a future 2020 cyber disaster with the added pressure of doing it in under 2 hours and having to present their concepts in an innovative way.

Comments from delegates included:

"There's always something you can learn from speaking to other people. The experts that they bring along have a wealth of information, just by talking you can learn so much more in one conversation than reading several chapters of a book"

"I would encourage anyone that's thinking of (the cyber camp) to get on board and join in, it really is great fun."

Nigel Beckett from Ultra Electronics, strategy director for cyber security, commented "this is the first time I've been involved in the challenge and I found it absolutely fantastic, the talent that we're seeing coming through is great, we need to do more of this, this is opening people's eyes up to this very exciting market in cyber security."

The Cyber Security Challenge has featured on BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, Computer Weekly, The Enquirer, website, Info security website, SC Magazine, Info4Security website, IT Director, ATM, and IT Pro.

A film of highlights from the Cyber Security Summer Camp hosted by Science and Technology in partnership with Cyber Security Challenge UK Ltd. is now live.

Tue 09 October 2012