Main content

Barclays delivers skills boost with Cyber Security Challenge UK competition

  • Barclays hosted latest Cyber Security Challenge UK face-to-face competition
  • Contestants took the role of interns defending a fictitious company from a cyber-attack, while their superiors were away on a team-building adventure
  • Top performers from the day invited to next month’s Masterclass finale where the UK’s leading cyber security firms look for new recruits

9th October 2017, London – This weekend, Barclays and Cabinet Office-backed security initiative Cyber Security Challenge UK, hosted an immersive competition to test the skills of thirty cyber enthusiasts. The competition required contestants to adopt the role of interns at a fictitious cyber security firm, who had to defend their company from a cyber-attack, triggered by an insider, all while their superiors were on a team-building canoeing adventure.

The competition is the last of 2017’s Cyber Security Challenge UK face-to-face competitions to unearth the UK’s hidden cyber talent and place these individuals in public and private sector cyber security roles, filling the critical cyber security skills gap. Not only does cyber security offer an exciting and varied career, but a lucrative one too – with roles averaging over £60,000 per year after training.

The competition took place in national heritage site Radbroke Hall, which is also the current site of Barclays’ Technology Centre. In the scenario, the ‘interns’, who were staffing a fictitious security firm called ‘Research4U’, had to spring into action after a hacking group launched a large-scale cyber-attack on the company, stealing confidential technology, source code and client data. The story saw hackers demand a ransom of £10m to prevent releasing the data to the press.

Competitors had to infiltrate and stop the fictional hacker group and destroy the leaked information before it could be released. Leading cyber specialists from Barclays and other leading industry organisations assessed the contestants on a range of skills to rank their performance and suitability for careers in the industry. 

The winning team was team Wormhole: Carolyn Yates, Isabel Whistlecroft, Kajusz Dykiel, Peter Campbell and Waldo Woch.

The eight contestants that have qualified for next month’s Masterclass grand finale were: Cameron Howes, Asher Caswell, Tom Brook, Vlad Ellis, Mohammed Rahman, David Young, Rajiv Shah and Isabel Whistlecroft. They will join other winners from earlier rounds at Masterclass where they will compete against each other, network with industry experts, and win career-enhancing prizes including degree scholarships, training courses, technology and gadgets and industry memberships. 

The competition mirrors recent high profile attacks, such as WannaCry, where hackers held organisations to ransom across the globe. With the Public Accounts Committee revealing earlier this year that the Government’s ability to protect Britain from high-level cyber-attacks is undermined by a skills shortage, the need to find individuals with cyber skills has never been greater.

Troels Oerting, Barclays Group Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Group Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) said:

“The best way to learn about cyber security is to engage in realistic scenarios like the one we’ve just hosted. Saturday’s event created a scenario that really tested a candidate’s ability to perform under pressure, think strategically, work as a team and display leadership skills. A career in cyber security requires various skills, including the ability to second-guess hackers and make critical decisions quickly. It was very encouraging to see students so immersed in solving the challenge we set them, and I wish all the candidates the very best in their careers.”

Nigel Harrison, acting Chief Executive of Cyber Security Challenge UK said:

“This year’s scenarios have been varied in nature in order to demonstrate the range of cyber threats that this nation faces as well as the sheer breadth of sectors that need cyber security professionals – from banking and finance, to automotive and even retail. Sponsors, like Barclays make this possible and, in turn, help to open the door to dozens more careers. I would like to encourage any budding cyber security specialist, or ‘white hat hackers’, to consider applying for our competitions. The nation faces a growing cyber security threat, so we are in real need of talent that can keep organisations, and the public, secure. Why not Challenge yourself today?” 

Editor’s Notes:

Members of the winning team are available for interview upon request.


- ENDS –


For further information, please contact:


Archana Achuthan –, 02035557623

 Cyber Security Challenge

Bryony Chinnery –, 07809833979

About Cyber Security Challenge UK

With the backing of founding sponsors like the SANS Institute, the Challenge was founded in 2010 to create a series of virtual and face-to-face competitions, designed to identify talented people and encourage them into the cyber security industry. Now in its 8th year, the Challenge is backed by over 50 of the UK’s most prestigious public, private and academic organisations, and hosts a wide programme of activities designed to spread the word about why cyber security is such a fulfilling and varied career and help talented people get their first cyber security jobs. Working with those at schools, universities and those looking to change careers, the Challenge is making a notable difference to the career prospects of those with the talent and aptitude to become cyber security professionals.

Since Cyber Security Challenge UK launched in 2010, over half the candidates from the Face-to-Face and Masterclass competitions have successfully secured jobs in cyber security. By comprehensively testing candidates’ abilities across a number of disciplines that are highly sought after by employers today, the Challenge’s sponsors have access to talent that would otherwise remain hidden.

Notes to editors


About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .