On Wednesday morning we had a visit from members of a Cybercrime unit and the majority of S2 students took part in The Matrix Challenge – a cyber security competition organised by Yorkshire and Humberside Police. While testing their cyber security knowledge the students got to experience first hand the issues caused by hackers intent on causing disruption on the Internet.

Students took part in an online set of tasks that included making judgements about crimes defined by the Computer Misuse Act and some hands-on coding and decryption tasks. Things took a dramatic turn when access to the website started to slow down, preventing some boys from submitting their answers. This turned out to be down to an ongoing DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack that hackers had launched against the competition site. Detective Constable Dean Russell was on hand at the school and was able to track live the surge in traffic that was preventing our students from completing the task.

Birkdale students are encouraged to develop their cyber security knowledge, with Ivan (S3) and Matthew (S4) being invited to take part in the CyberStart Game run by the government, having qualified in November by completing most of the tasks in CyberStart Assess. In addition we develop knowledge of encryption through code-breaking competitions. The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition is due to kick off on Monday 27 January 2020. Students who wish to form a team and take part should see Mr Morton to obtain a school code. Training and support will be available most Mondays after school or as part of Code Club on Thursday lunchtimes.