Three local teams will be competing in the Cyber Centurion finals tomorrow at Queen Elizabeth Park in London.
It is the first time the Gibraltar has entered mixed sex teams and the first time the competition has introduced the ‘Under 14’ category.
Gibraltar has entered the new Under 14 category, with the local team coming second overall in their qualifying round.
Bayside Head of Physics Stewart Harrison said this was “quite an achievement” considering this was the team’s first year competing.
The young team has been attending weekly two-hour sessions after school and then continuing their work at home.
The two ‘over 14’ teams secured their place in the top 10 of their qualifying rounds.
“This is now our fourth year in the competition and our teams have learnt a lot over this time,” Mr Harrison said.
“Having teams in both age categories shows that not only are our older students showing a real talent in cyber security, but younger ones are showing a keen interest and want to participate as well.”
The teams overcame three qualifying rounds, all held in the University of Gibraltar, to qualify from over 300 teams that entered.
Qualifying rounds were based on insecure Linux and Windows operating systems. Overall, eight operating systems were secured during these rounds.
“This is the first time that we have entered mixed sex teams, which is really exciting and something that will be more common as secondary education goes co-education,” Mr Harrison said.
“Many STEM subjects are very male orientated so having both sexes working together is something we must encourage to break down the existing stereotypes. If we intend to reduce the gender pay gap, put more females in the board room, and basically stop gender inequality, both sexes must be involved.
“At the finals the teams are accompanied by teachers from Bayside Comprehensive School, trainers from GVC Holdings and the University of Gibraltar’s Director of ICT.
“I am very proud of all my teams and all the work they have put into the competition so far,” Mr Harrison said.
“Qualifying was tough, with many teams scoring very good scores so getting to the Grand Finals has been no easy feat. We have seen UK teams get better and better from one year to the next, but Gibraltar has done exactly the same. We have to thank our trainers from GVC Holdings for giving up their time to coach the teams. We would not be in this amazing position without them.”
The hoodies for all team members have been sponsored by EY accountants, with Gibtelecom supplying two broadband lines for students to use during training their sessions.
“Once again I congratulate our Cyber Centurion teams for qualifying and wish them the best of luck in the finals this week,” said the Minister for Education Dr John Cortes.
“As usual, they have already done us proud. I am particularly grateful to the teachers within the schools and to those in the private sector who support this initiative. Training in this area is of ever growing importance for our young people, and for the increasingly technological community of which we are a part, and we will continue to encourage and support it.”