A team of outstanding Manx teenagers, calling themselves CyberAces have stormed the CyberCenturion VII finals, missing out on topping the board by just three points.
The team was competing in a UK-wide CyberSecurity competition which pits the best young coding minds against each other. Each team must play a series of online qualifying rounds, which will challenge them to learn about networking, defence and cyber security. If the team scores higher than most of the other players and makes it to the leader board, they will then be invited to play in the National Final, a face-to-face competition which finds the ultimate champion team for the year.
The team had been training together and competing from the island in three separate qualifying rounds held in November, December, and March; and have been teaching themselves valuable IT, CyberSecurity and teamwork skills throughout the contest.
The team representing Code Club, and indeed the whole of the Isle of Man, was composed of four boys from different schools around the island: Aaron Rielly (RGS), Arthur Owenson (KWC), Luka Warren (BHS) and Siddharth Muthu Pandian (SNHS).
This was one of the two teams which the Isle of Man Code Club fielded this year, the other being a second senior team under the name Ctrl-Alt-Defend. A total of 10 Manx students took part in the competition this year out of the 25 total competitors over the past six years that the IOM Code Club has taken part in the competition, all of whom have undoubtedly learned many aspects of Cybersecurity, networking, and operating systems as part of their training and preparation over the years.
This is not the first time the team has competed together. Two years ago, in 2019, the team competed as a Junior team at CyberCenturion V National Finals and placed as the top Junior team.
Owen Cutajar from Code Club explained that due to the pandemic, things were a little different, and rather than travelling to London, the finals were held remotely. This meant that the team were able to create their own hub at the Isle of Man Eagle Lab in Douglas.
He said: ‘Attending the national finals once is a prestigious achievement, attending twice is truly extraordinary. This year, only 10 senior teams out of 451 teams qualified for the national finals, which particularly shows how strongly they are performing.’
Competition in the finals was an intense experience, both for the competitors and the support crew. Photographer/videographer Adam Drummond, PR Manager Chevonne O’Boyle and Content Creation Manager Tom Darnill worked at speed in the background to create the perfect content for social media and more all whilst the competitors were hard at work earning their points. CyberAces narrowly missed out on earning their second winning trophy, placing second in the competition with a score of 194 points.
Owen said, ‘We’re delighted that CyberAces have managed to make it to the CyberCenturion National Finals once again. The team performed admirably, showing off their superb cybersecurity and IT skills. We’re proud that we started them along this path, but it’s thanks to the team’s further learning, determination, and research skills that they have come so far. We’re looking to run cybersecurity training sessions over the summer to encourage more young people in the Isle of Man to learn valuable skills and maybe even take part in CyberCenturion next year. We’ll be fundraising to buy new kit to support the teams and hope to make this opportunity available to anyone who is interested. If anyone is interested, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.’