Almost 1,500 teams of girls have registered their interest in a competition to find the best and brightest candidates to protect the UK from future cyber attacks.
The National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberFirst Girls Competition went live on Monday 27 February, and saw the number of registered girls signed up for the contest jump from 3,595 to 5,099 on the last weekend of registrations.
It will put pupils through a series of online challenges, with the top 10 teams progressing to a national final in March.
A surge in interest has been seen since the contest was announced in January, resulting in 1,428 teams being registered by 558 teachers, who will act as their guardian and mentor for the competition.
Alison Whitney, the deputy director for digital services at the NCSC, said:
“It is fantastic to see the growing interest in cyber skills among teenagers, and we are delighted that hundreds of teachers have registered thousands of girls to take part.
“Cyber security is increasingly important to help people live and work online, and we hope CyberFirst Girls will help young women develop skills that could lead to a dynamic and rewarding career.
“Having worked in cyber security for over a decade I would recommend it to any young woman hoping to make a positive impact on the world.”
The victorious contestants will take home individual prizes and their school will receive IT equipment to the value of £1,000.
There will be hints and tips available to help the students through the online phase and a teacher's guide to help make the most of the competition.
The Government is fully committed to defending against cyber threats and address the cyber skills gap to develop and grow talent. A five year National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) was announced in November 2016, supported by £1.9billion of transformational investment.
The new NCSC will provide a single, central body for cyber security at a national level. It will manage national cyber security incidents, carry out real-time threat analysis and provide tailored sectoral advice.