All this and much more is discussed in the latest edition of the award-winning “Smashing Security” podcast by computer security veterans Graham Cluley and Carole Theriault, joined this week by Maria Varmazis.

  • More than 1,850 teenagers seized chance to learn how to defend our digital world.
  • Nearly half (47%) of course places secured by pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds as programme continues drive to improve diversity in the sector.

A record number of teenagers seized the opportunity to develop cyber security skills this summer by joining virtual and in-person courses led by the UK’s cyber experts. New figures from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, revealed more than 1,850 teenagers took part in its popular CyberFirst summer courses, surpassing the record participation set last year when courses moved online for the first time. This year, pupils aged 14 to 17 had the choice of learning about cyber security virtually or in person at courses held in Warwickshire, where they covered topics including digital forensics, ethical hacking and cryptography. CyberFirst aims to encourage young people to pursue their interest in cyber security and improve the diversity in the industry, as just 16% of the UK’s cyber sector workforce are women and 17% are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Of this year’s intake 43% were girls, while pupils from ethn.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said:

It’s fantastic to see so many young people engaging with cyber security and developing the skills that will help them thrive in the industry. “Our summer courses provide fun, hands-on opportunities to learn about defending our digital world and we hope they will be inspired to pursue their interests further. “It’s vital the next generation of cyber experts is diverse as well as skilled, and through CyberFirst we are committed to making the industry a more accessible and inclusive place for all.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said:

The need for cutting-edge cyber security has never been greater and this resilient sector is continuing to grow and solidify its status as a jewel in the UK’s tech crown. “It’s fantastic to see so many young people from diverse backgrounds develop cyber skills over the summer as it is vital that the industry has a strong pipeline of talent for years to come.

CyberFirst Advanced participant Binita, aged 17, said:

I have found the CyberFirst Advanced Course extremely informative and insightful. “It has been amazing to work with team members that share the same passion and it has given me more of a reason to research cyber security as a career to pursue in the future.