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Frome College cyber team placed 3rd in the UK!

TEAMS from Frome College took part in the Cybercenturion Final in London on 8th March, with one of the collect teams winning third place in the national event.

Maggie Love, Cybercenturion project lead reports, “Team ‘Vault 7’ – Tom Haines, Matt Haines, Connor Cairns, Hamish Murray and Jake Howell – fought really hard right up to the closing seconds to reach 3rd place in the competition. They brought back a (very heavy!) silver trophy, together with individual bronze medals and finalists’ medallions as well!

“Our second team -, Cybercenturion – of Joe Malley, Morgan Curle, Dylan Oliver, Adam Kerslake – also reached the finals and were placed a very creditable 7th place.

Both teams did very well indeed just to get there as there was stiff competition from the 216 competing teams from across the UK and overseas territories.  The team from Gibraltar even arrived complete with their Governor in tow.

“The Cybercenturion Competition is a high pressure test of cybersecurity skills, with teams battling to protect their ‘images’ which are specially sabotaged versions of common operating systems such as Windows and Ubuntu. To qualify for the final, the Frome College teams had to play a series of three, 6-hour long, online qualifying rounds, which required them to learn a wide range of new skills in the areas of networking, defence and cyber security.

“Because of the way that the competition is structured, to be guaranteed a place in the finals the teams had to be in the top 6 at the end of the qualifying rounds. Team ‘Vault 7’ were through, but it was a nail biting couple of weeks before we found out that our second team had also got through.

“The final of the competition consisted of 4 hours of face-to-face competition and took place at the Institute of Engineering & Technology at Savoy Place, London – which was an experience in itself, surrounded as they were by busts and images of the giants of engineering and technology such as Kelvin, Faraday and Turing.

The awards were presented by Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Minister for Implementation, Cabinet Office. Oliver is responsible for ‘all things cyber’ in the UK. There were also several short, but inspirational speeches and the VIPs came round and spent time talking to each of the teams. Perhaps the most interesting being a cyber-specialist from Northrop Grumman who was able to share an insider’s perspective of the industry with the students.

“Mention must also be made of the 3rd Frome College team – Adrian Nouchin, Jack Flagg, James Kerley and Toby Paton – who achieved 14th place overall. Not quite enough for a place in the final, but a brilliant performance nonetheless.

“A special thanks also to the sponsors of the competition, Northrop Grumman, for such an amazing experience; they even paid for the accommodation for teams at The Strand Palace Hotel the night before the competition, in addition to all the other costs of the competition.

“This is the third consecutive year that Frome College has had teams in the final of the competition – an astonishing feat for our students!”

Steve Marsh, DofE coordinator, who accompanied the group on the trip said, “On behalf of Frome College, I would like to thank Maggie Love for her commitment to this project. Her coaxing, encouragement, training and enthusiasm to guide the students through to the finals over the years is outstanding. All the students involved showed high levels of competence and commitment to this competition. My congratulations go to the boys – they should seriously be considering careers in IT. Maggie and the teams should all be proud of their achievements – 3rd and 7th in a national final is fantastic!”

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