Worthing cadets named division winners in national cyber security competition CyberCenturion VII

A team of young cyber security experts from 45F (Worthing) Squadron has been named as division winner in the national finals of this year’s CyberCenturion competition.
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The team of four, Sgt Harry Piper, Cpl Thomas Taylor, Cdt Daniel Bannister and Cdt Oliver Jones won the senior cadet category at CyberCenturion VII, a nationwide cyber security challenge.

Organisers said that with cyber security being a fast-growing industry, this initiative was helping young people to develop an interest in the subject, get real world experience and put down the foundations for a potential career in this field.

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Acting Pilot Officer Kieren Waghorn, the team leader, said: “For me, the best thing about CyberCenturion is that it gives young people an opportunity to get some hands-on experience in the world of cyber security and develop their teamworking and leadership skills.

The 45F (Worthing) Squadron team and staff are thrilled with the division win in the senior cadet category at the national finals of this year’s CyberCenturion competitionThe 45F (Worthing) Squadron team and staff are thrilled with the division win in the senior cadet category at the national finals of this year’s CyberCenturion competition
The 45F (Worthing) Squadron team and staff are thrilled with the division win in the senior cadet category at the national finals of this year’s CyberCenturion competition

“We are all very pleased that our team at 45F (Worthing) Squadron made it to the national finals of this year’s CyberCenturion competition and while unfortunately we did not win overall, we are still very proud of being the division winners within the senior cadet category.”

The boys said it was a team effort, especially when one of them managed to locked himself out of his computer by accident and they had to work together to regain access.

For 16-year-old Daniel, it was his third time in the competition and in the future, he wants to join the RAF in a cyber security role.

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He said: “I have had many fun experiences in it. For example, this year I made the image too secure and I locked myself out, which allowed me to stick by my motto ‘there is always room for improvement’.”

Oliver, 16, also started CyberCenturion at cadets over three years ago and says he has improved his knowledge greatly from taking part.

He added: “My favourite bit from this year’s competition was when we finally managed to crack a complex code that had baffled us in one of the rounds.

“My personal favourite funny moment was when my teammate forgot the password he had written down and stuck on his monitor. My future plan is to serve in the British Armed Forces as an officer. I hope I will be able to achieve this. My personal motto is ‘have a go and give it a try’.”

It was 16-year-old Harry’s second time in the competition.

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He said: “I would say that my favourite part of the competition is its ability to be very engaging and educational to someone like myself who before starting the CyberCenturion competitions had very little idea of what cyber security really is.

“The funniest moment for me from this competition has to be the state of my scoring graph after I managed to lock myself out twice in quick succession.

“My plan for the future is to complete some form of engineering degree at university and then ideally join the RAF as an engineering officer, currently I think I would prefer to be in aerosystems.”

Thomas, 17, was taking part for the first time and said it had been a great experience.

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“What I like the best about CyberCenturion is the challenge of facing new and unique obstacles which require teamwork and cohesion resulting in a fun and interesting time,” he said.

“My plans for the future are to finish college and attend university, preferably the London School of Economics, where I will study economics and politics. After this I hope to start an internship which will lead to a career as a stockbroker.”

Flt Lt Simon Bacon, the officer commanding at 45F (Worthing) Squadron, said he was ‘extremely pleased and proud’ of the cadets’ achievements.

“I have watched them learn and develop key skills in teamworking and in cyber which will serve them well in the future. If the recent lockdowns have shown us anything it is that cyber is, and will continue to be, a big part of how we all interact and cyber security goes hand in hand with this.”

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This year’s competition was the first to be held virtually, with 15 teams competing for the national title from the UK, Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

If you are interested in joining the Royal Air Force Air Cadets as a either a cadet or adult volunteer, visit www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets for more information.

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