MSc Cyber Security students attend NCSC Innovators Challenge 2024

Kent students attending 2024 NCSC Innovators Challenge

Two MSc Cyber Security students recently had the opportunity to take part in the 2024 NCSC Innovators Challenge event, organised by the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ). This three-day event, held in Cardiff on 26-28 February 2024, aimed to facilitate discussion between students from NCSC-certified courses and industries to encourage innovative solutions to address the increasing cyber threat landscape faced by the transportation sector.

Dr Virginia Franqueira, Director of the Kent ACE-CSE and Deputy Director (Education) of the Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS), said: “For the third consecutive year, we were thrilled to provide the opportunity for two selected students to take part on this event. Being able to engage in problem solving and solution design alongside industry to address practical challenges is exciting. Students came back enthusiastic about their experience!

Student Sean Boyle said: “Participating in the Innovator Challenge was a lot more fun than expected. During our time there, we got to meet like-minded people and had a good time coming up with potential solutions to defend the UK’s maritime and aviation industries. Collaborating with some of the brightest upcoming minds in the cyber security sector and getting the chance to talk with some current industry experts made for a very interesting event. The organisers also brought in some investment organisations that could help us pursue our idea and bring it to life if we chose to. On one night, the organisers put on a pub quiz event related to cyber threats, malware, locations, and organisations. Everyone got rather competitive and had a good time. All in all, it was a well-planned event that opened my eyes to various approaches to solve important issues.

Student Mwinanu Mwala said: “Participating in the UK NCSC Innovator Challenge in Cardiff was an enlightening experience for me as an MSc Cyber Security Student. Throughout the event, I collaborated with my colleagues, industry experts and NCSC technologist to address pressing issues within the transport sector. Our focus was centred on devising innovative strategies to fortify the maritime sector against geolocation spoofing and safeguarding airline customer data from cyber-attacks. Over three intense days, we engaged in rigorous brainstorming sessions utilising cutting edge methodologies like design thing, and solution prototyping; my team of 5 and I navigated through the complexities of these issues. Our efforts were put to test at the evening dinner event of our second day in Cardiff, with a fascinating quiz set by NCSC and Plexal, where our team emerged victorious! This experience didn’t only broaden my understanding of cyber security challenges but instilled in me a sense of confidence in my ability to make meaningful contribution in a multidisciplinary team and tackle real-world cyber security challenges head-on. I also enjoyed networking with link-minded colleagues in the cyber security sphere.