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Teenager crowned Barclays 'cryptofactor' champion

Teenager crowned Barclays 'cryptofactor' champion

A 19-year-old cybersecurity protégée from York has been crowned the 'Cryptofactor' champion, beating out competition from fellow budding codebreakers to win a Barclays-hosted competition.

Developed by Barclays and backed by the UK government, the 2018 Cyber Security Challenge UK entailed nationwide face-to-face competitions designed to identify cyber talent not currently in the industry.

Following a three day 'Masterclass Final' at Barclays' Canary Wharf headquarters, university student Charlie Hosier was named the overall winner.

This year’s final Cryptofactor challenge saw teams employ complex defence methods to expose an attack on a fictional cryptocurrency exchange, with 42 contestants from across the UK battling it out to protect the fake firm, investigating part of its secure storage for fintech start-ups.

The challenge began upon the discovery that crypto-mining malware had been installed and data had been stolen from the organisation’s sales portal, which then saw cybercriminals demand a ransom to decrypt the data.

Following this news, the contestants worked in teams to investigate, mitigate and control the cyber-attack and worked on an effective and secure network design for future protection. Following the investigation, the teams hosted a mock press conference to present their findings.

Paul Gillen, head, cyber security operations centre, Barclays, says: "Until you have lived through a real-life cyber threat, or worse, an attack, it can be difficult to know what to expect and exactly how that might look. We have worked with Cyber Security Challenge UK, using cutting edge technology, to create what we believe to be the closest thing to a real-life situation.

"Over the course of the weekend, it has been great to witness the contestants fully immerse themselves in the scenario we put to them. We’ve seen some really excellent problem solving and quick thinking, with both skills being key to a successful role in cyber security.

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