GCHQ has announced it will run a competition aimed at tech-savvy teenage girls in the UK that it hopes will encourage more females to consider a career in cyber security.
The CyberFirst Girls Competition has been set up by GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and looks to end the imbalance in the cyber security industry that means just 10 per cent of the global cyber workforce are females.
Teams of teens aged 13-15 are invited to enter in teams of four, along with a teacher who will act as a guardian and mentor.
They will have their cyber- skills tested against other schoolgirls from across the UK in a series of online challenges, that NCSC notes get "progressively harder," allowing "girls to stretch their learning and gain further knowledge that could help them in their everyday lives."
The top 10 teams will progress to a national final in London in March, where they will compete against each other to investigate what's described as 'suspicious cyber activity' and attempt to solve who is behind a crime.
The victorious contestants will take home individual prizes and their school will receive IT equipment to the value of £1,000. Girls will also be given the opportunity to apply for CyberFirst Student Bursary of £4,000 per year of undergraduate study at university.
GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan said: "I work alongside some truly brilliant women who help protect the UK from all manner of online threats.
"The CyberFirst Girls Competition allows teams of young women a glimpse of this exciting world and provides a great opportunity to use new skills.
"My advice to all potential applicants would be to enjoy the experience and I look forward to meeting some of you."
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