29 February 2020
Ten Derbyshire Cadets have become the first to take the CyberFirst Adventurers course that will become a regular offering to Cadets in the county.
The National Cyber Security Centre's CyberFirst programme is a series of short courses designed to introduce the younger generation to the world of cyber security. These courses are called Adventurers, Defenders, Futures and Advanced.
Cadets were given a presentation on the future of technology and where they could play a part as a 'cyberist', in a varied range of professional careers, to maintain and evolve the technology that is integral to modern life.
They then worked in groups for the first exercise, playing digital detectives, in order to identify patient zero of a viral disease outbreak, using a spreadsheet data set and tracking the person down online using mapping tools. Cadets learnt how data analytics is used and how open source intelligence could be used for positive and negative means.
The second exercise involved Cadets editing HTML code to see the effect it would have on the content and formatting of web pages. This gave a greater appreciation for the websites & services we take for granted due to their ease of use and availability.
After a break for lunch, the third activity got the Cadets to select players for a Quidditch team (yes, the Harry Potter game!) from a data set. This was an exercise in data analysis and logical thinking which is a huge growth area in many industries and aims to improve efficiency & performance.
For the final activity of the day Cadets solved a series of puzzles and decoded hidden words using a Caesar shift table. The groups each found a password which would unlock a tablet PC and reveal a part of the final solution. With just 1 hour to crack the code, the Cadets solved it with literally seconds to spare! The exercise demonstrated the need for teamwork and problem solving skills technical teams use daily in every industry.
Course Instructor and County STEM Officer, Lt Paul Thomas, said "it has been fantastic to see the Cadets take up the different challenges with great enthusiasm. I am very much looking forward to rolling this course out to the County and inspiring Cadets to go further in their discovery of cyber technology by enrolling on further CyberFirst courses and entering competitions."
For more information on NCSC's CyberFirst courses, competitions and apprenticeships, visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberfirst