First winners of Cyber Security Challenge announced

Top scoring contestants Sammy Hosny, Adam Rutherford and Joe Harris qualify for first reconnaissance meet ups as part of Operation Flag Day.

The winners have been announced from the first of the Cyber Security Challenge competition of 2014/2015, dubbed, Assignment: Opening Lines. Sammy Hosny, Adam Rutherford and Joe Harris will all progress to the first of the Challenge’s series of reconnaissance meet ups as part of Operation Flag Day. Here, the most impressive candidates from the virtual assignments will be asked to report for duty in person at secret locations around the UK to carry out investigations face-to-face in teams.

The first competition of 2014/2015 was developed by the National Crime Agency (NCA), and encouraged members of the public to showcase their digital expertise to investigate a suspicious email linked to the Flag Day Associates group. The group were revealed at the end of the 2014 Masterclass competition and have been confirmed as the Challenge's first nemesis for this year. Candidates were briefed on the scenario and asked to report their findings back to officers at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit.

The NCA designed the competition to test amateur cyber security enthusiasts’ digital forensic skills through their ability to investigate potential malicious code contained in an email, and report on how it could be used by a perpetrator to gain access and steal information from an IT infrastructure.

Sammy, Adam and Joe will now have the chance to progress to the Masterclass final in March 2015, where they will take on the Flag Day Associates. Contestants in this final round will have a chance of becoming the 2015 UK Cyber Security Challenge champion and win a variety of prizes that will help them kick start their cyber security career.

“Assignment: Opening Lines proved to be a very popular competition, and the standard of submissions we received was very high,” said Stephanie Daman, CEO at the Cyber Security Challenge UK. “The winners of this round demonstrated their savviness in regards to the types of cyber threats that are currently facing businesses across the globe. Their success showcases the hidden talent that is out there and the potential there is to encourage the next generation of cyber security professionals to enter the industry. We’re very much looking forward to seeing them pit their wits against each other in the next face-to-face round.”

“The aim of the first Cyber Security Challenge of 2014/15 was to test the skills required to investigate cyber-crime and the individuals or groups responsible for it,” said Adam Kramer, Chief Technologist from the National Crime Agency. “The response to this challenge has been phenomenal, with many great candidates taking part. I’d like to congratulate Sammy, Adam and Joe and look forward to seeing them progress as the challenges continue throughout the year”.

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