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Cyber Challenge 2019

Lytchett’s Year 10 computing students were, once again, invited to the annual Royal Signals‘ Cyber Challenge, held in Blandford. Competitors were somewhat taken aback by the number of uniformed soldiers upon arrival at the army base, which houses large rooms dedicated to IT and computing. Upon entering the challenge arena, students were greeted by army personnel and taken to the tea room to become acquainted with the other schools taking part, and to decide upon a team name; after some discussion, Lytchett settled upon “FatherBoard“.

Within the main area were dozens of laptops arranged on tables. A number of our students brought their own keyboards along and proceeded to connect them to the laptops provided. Then the coding began in earnest: the initial challenges were simple enough, with FatherBoard getting off to a great start. One of our team, Jason, was placed seventh overall after the first section. The whole team found their groove during the second section and some valuable points were collected as lunchtime drew closer.

After lunch, students were tasked with coding projects and a handful of workshops, which required three of our team to dress from head to toe in full army uniform. This was followed by a tutorial on the Linux operating system, which included a demonstration of how to ‘hack’ into a wireless network connection using a Raspberry Pi. Students were strongly advised not to put this new knowledge to use on any networks other than their own, or they could face a prison sentence of five to ten years!

Finally, the moment all the competitors had been waiting for arrived – the announcement of the results. Lytchett’s FatherBoard team was placed fourth out of around a dozen schools’ entrants. (The team strongly maintain that they would have finished higher had it not been for a time delay caused by one of their number accidentally locking them out of the laptops for 25 minutes…!)

All the students thoroughly enjoyed the Cyber Challenge day, and were very grateful for the efforts of the army personnel who made it so interesting.

Based on a report written by students who attended the event.

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