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CDT student coaches Cyber 912 team to third place

CDT student coaches Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge team to third place

  • Date05 March 2024

The UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is an annual competition designed to foster the next generation of cyber security professionals. Teams of four university students take on the role of senior government advisors responding to a complex and escalating cyber-attack with national and international ramifications.

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During the challenge, competing teams receive intelligence packs consisting of reports gathered from multiple sources. They must work together to analyse the report, developing an understanding of the technological, political and legal implications of the content. Then, they present their analysis and recommendations to a panel of judges from government and industry.

Information security PhD student Phil Sheriff, who is studying for a PhD as part of the CDT in Cyber Security for the Everyday, successfully coached team 'Nocturnal' into third place in the February 2024 edition of the competition.

Kira, one of the participants from team Nocturnal, commented: 

"We were a mixed team from different universities across the UK including RHUL, University of Newcastle, University of Southampton and University of Warwick. This was the first year of the new Cyber 9/12 Virtual Track, which was a great success, and we achieved 3rd place nationally out of around 20 teams.

This year, in keeping with 2024 being the biggest election year in history, the hypothetical scenario was based around misinformation campaigns, state-sponsored cyber-attacks on CNI, and a cyber-attack that could undermine UK electoral integrity extremely close to the hypothetical UK general election.

It was great to combine our varying individual skillsets and work alongside Phil to develop some really creative approaches to dealing with the situations that were thrown at us!"

Phil Sheriff commented:

"Being a coach was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, made all the more so by working with Kiran and her fantastic team. Considering the difficulties the team faced, the role of the coach is a relatively simple one - putting answers into a UK context, helping the team understand the perspective of the policy makers, and the importance of balancing technical detail with policy relevance. Being on hand to role play policy makers and their often tangential (even random) line of questioning was probably the most useful, and enjoyable, part of the experience.

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