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Young finalists from Southern Wales to compete in Cyber Challenge final

38 finalists, aged between 11 and 17, will be competing in the last round of the Matrix Challenge this weekend.

Created and organised by the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Cyber Crime Unit (YHRCCU), the Matrix Challenge is a national cyber security competition for young people. Split into two age groups – 11 to 14, and 15 to 17 – the competition is designed to test digital skills, and to encourage the development of abilities which could lead to a future career in the cyber-security industry.

The first round took place back in January and February 2020, and tested participant’s knowledge of The Computer Misuse Act 1990, online safety behaviours, steganography, Python coding, and cipher cracking. The roll-out of the first round in southern Wales was coordinated by Tarian Regional Cyber Crime Unit (Tarian RCCU).

PC Emyr Jones of Tarian said: “Round one of the challenge proved to be extremely popular within our region. There was a high uptake within schools, with nearly 8,000 pupils participating. I feel that it is so important for young people to have the opportunity to develop their skills and interests, and to be rewarded for their curiosity and enthusiasm.”

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the original plan for the national finalists to come together and compete in person had to give way to a virtual final instead.

“I am grateful that the YHRCCU has worked hard to find a way of delivering the final under such challenging circumstances,” said PC Jones. “It’s an exciting time for our Matrix finalists and we wish them all the best for the weekend.”

One participant, 13-year-old Zach from Ysgol Gyfun Bro Edern, said: “I’ve been really pleased to compete in the Matrix challenge since it has taught me skills for the future. How to code, how to use Python, and how to have a better understanding of digital. I think that these skills will be required in the future and preparing for the final has really brought me up to speed.”

The final of the Matrix Challenge is taking place on the 16th and 17th of January 2021.

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