A GCHQ National Cyber Security Centre competition to address gender imbalances in cyber security has been won by four girls from the Royal Masonic School (RMS) for Girls in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.
Nearly 12,000 young women participated in the competition, CyberFirst Girls, designed to encourage more young girls to get involved in cybersecurity in order to meet demand for more female professionals in the field.
Ninety per cent of the cybersecurity profession is male, which means the industry is missing out on a huge pool of talent
The winning team comprised of four Year 8 students (Alexa Wolff, Angelina Paz-King, Hattie Simpson and Laura Ferguson) from RMS. They took part in a series of challenges and enjoyed an exclusive dinner at Edinburgh Castle on the evening of the competition with finalists from nine other schools. Throughout the final, the girls worked as security professionals to investigate an ongoing cyber incident, presenting their findings and being crowned national champions.
Headmaster Kevin Carson said: “These are four fantastic RMS students, each with razor-sharp minds, and we are incredibly proud of the resourcefulness and determination that they have demonstrated to win a national event as challenging and prestigious as the NCSC CyberFirst Girls competition.
“Ninety per cent of the cybersecurity profession is male, which means the industry – like so many others – is missing out on a huge pool of talent. To encourage 12,000 young women to participate in this challenge is a fabulous thing in itself, and for our RMS girls to have emerged victorious is a tremendous credit to Alexa, Angelina, Hattie and Laura. I could not be more proud of the girls or of their amazing teachers at our school.”
Each of the top 10 teams will visit Windsor Castle for tea with The Duke of York in May.
Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for skills and growth, said: “Congratulations to all our finalists and in particular The Royal Masonic School for Girls who performed impressively throughout the final.”