Team G.L.1.T.C.H, the third Queen’s School team in as many years to make it to a CyberFirst Girls’ Competition Final, had an action-packed couple of days in Edinburgh this week full of cutting edge challenges and problem solving GCHQ style.
Anoushka, Erinna, Leandra and Limonée in Year 8 progressed to the final stage of this prestigious national competition by working hard as a team and achieving an impressive score in a week-long round of online challenges designed to test their understanding and problem solving skill in areas such as cryptography, network security, pentesting, SQL injection and IP lookups.
Of the nearly 12,000 girls who took part in this year’s GCHQ online girls competition, only 40 - ten teams of four - made it to this final stage in Scotland’s first city.
The competition launched in style with a formal dinner in Edinburgh Castle’s magnificent Great Hall of James IV. Hosted by Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, the girls enjoyed live, traditional music while they ate at this once in a life time event - the Great Hall only available for functions hosted by the First Minister.
On Monday, the competition final took place in Edinburgh University’s beautiful and historic Playfair Library. The teams spent the day acting as security professionals for fictitious social media app developers, Pomboo, who had suffered a cyber-breach and needed answers fast to protect their reputation from a GDPR breach.
The final test of the day was in the boardroom. Team G.L.1.T.C.H faced a panel of cyberists and academics from Edinburgh University. The challenge was to communicate the wealth of technical information they had gathered throughout the day as if addressing a non-technical, business audience - an important part of a real cyberists role!
The girls did amazingly well in the boardroom, eloquently and knowledgeably explaining the security situation to the board. Team G.L.1.T.C.H were in 2nd place on the leaderboard when it was switched off before the presentations. The girls then had the agony of waiting until the final two names were left to call to find out who the overall winner was. Unfortunately the girls did not win first place on this occasion - that went to Royal Masonic School for Girls. However - even though the official runners up places are not published - we are certain that they did incredibly well. Mrs McKeirnan, who was with the girls in Edinburgh said she “couldn’t be more proud of their achievements!”
Having got a team into the final ten for three years in a row, now the only questions is, could we possibly dream to do it again next year. Year 7 - we challenge you to get in cyber training at Code Club!