CyberFirst Girls' Competition

CyberFirst Girls’ Competition

Year 8 students have been participating in the CyberFirst Girls Competition, a national competition organised by the National Cyber Security Centre at GCHQ.

The competition aims to provide a fun but challenging environment to encourage and inspire the next generation of young women to consider a future career in cyber security.

Katherine Sarfaty, 8G, has been selected to enter the second stage of the competition, which involves a four-day residential CyberFirst Defenders course at an undisclosed location! Here, Katherine has summarised what participation in the competition has entailed:

“There were four question types in the competition. Each one was focussed around a different type of problem solving skills including logic and coding, security, ciphers, and mathematics. The answer was called a “flag”. To decode and encode, we used a tool called CyberChef (also known as the Cyber Swiss Army Knife), which is a web app for encryption, encoding, compression and data analysis.

In the security section (my favourite) there were a number of questions with links to websites. One of these websites was seemingly blank at first, but then when I went into the Javascript code of the website and edited it a sentence showed up: “Encrypt the year that GCHQ was founded using an SHA-1 hash.” I looked it up on the internet and the date was the first of November, 1919. I used CyberChef to find the SHA-1 hash of 1919 and put the result into the flag box.’

We are incredibly proud of all the Year 8 girls for their endeavours in the CyberFirst Girls Competition, and congratulate Katherine in particular – good luck on the course, Katherine!