A team of pupils from St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen did Scotland proud.
They represented the country in the UK Grand Final of the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) CyberFirst code-breaking competition.
After beating 6,500 girls in the qualifying stages, the second year pupils have combated cryptography and learned to master logic and networking, placing them as the top aspiring codebreakers of their age group in the country.
Pupils Ellie Ong, Rachel Murray, Celine Muir, and Iris Emembolu, were among hundreds aged 12 to 13 who put their cyber security know-how to the test in the semi-finals of the CyberFirst Girls Competition, a competition run by the NCSC to inspire the next generation of young women to consider a career in cyber security.
Anna Tomlinson, head of St Margaret’s School for Girls, said: ‘We’re so proud of Ellie, Rachel, Celine and Iris who were the highest scoring team in Scotland at the CyberFirst Girls Competition semi-finals. Competitions like this are very important as they inspire girls to pursue their interests in technology and consider careers in under-represented fields such as cyber security.’
Celine Muir, second year CyberFirst finalist at St Margaret’s School said: ‘“The qualifying round of the CyberFirst competition was really exciting as we had to work through security puzzles, cryptography, logic and networking. We’re really pleased our hard work paid off.
‘Going into the competition, I didn’t know much about cyber security, but representing St Margaret’s in this competition has made me consider potential career paths and opportunities in the field..
Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for Cyber Growth (the information assurance arm of GCHQ), said: ‘Congratulations to all those who reached the CyberFirst Girls semi-finals, and a special well done to those teams going through to the Grand Final.
‘It’s inspiring to see girls up and down the country engaging in the competition with such enthusiasm and skill, and we hope many will consider taking their interest in cyber security further.’
The semi-finals took place in March and were held online in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and five English regions, and saw more than 120 teams simultaneously take on a series of cyber security puzzles covering cryptography, logic and networking.
Now in its fifth year, the CyberFirst Girls Competition aims to inspire girls to pursue their interests in technology and consider a career in cyber security – a field where women are still under-represented in the UK, making up an estimated 15% of the sector workforce.