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Training the next generation of cybersecurity experts

Training the next generation of cybersecurity experts

England’s Bletchley Park, famous for its World War II codebreaking success, is about to put on display some of the actual Nazi messages it decrypted. Bletchley’s National Museum of Computing houses a working replica of the five-tonne ‘Colussus’ decryption engine, of which 10 were in use at the peak of the wartime codebreaking effort. The ‘original and freshly discovered’ messages will be available for visitors to marvel at.

This is just the latest news from a place that is fittingly becoming a modern-day British cybersecurity centre. A National College of Cyber Security is scheduled to open in 2020. wrote about this new ‘Hogwarts for Hackers’ a while back when it was scheduled to open in 2018, so there are delays, but the intention is quite clear that Bletchley is to become the principal training ground for the next generation of cyber-defence professionals.

The initiative to create the school emerged from Qufaro, a not-for-profit organisation created by representatives of Raytheon, BT Security, the Institute of Information Security Professionals, and National Museum of Computing. A range of courses and apprenticeships is planned with the aim of plugging the skills gap in cybersecurity and in the face of growing threats from foreign actors and nation states.

The National College of CyberSecurity’s vision is to train a very selective intake of students aged 16-19 in cyber defence, and for the training to be free of charge to the students so that pure talent remains the main priority. The College will then act as a feeder to those UK universities with whom it has established content partnerships and whose courses offer a high cyber security content.

The really, really smart ones will probably stay at Bletchley Park and disappear from public view as they engage in top secret operations. Indeed, the existence of the wartime codebreaking programme was unknown to the public until 30 years after the war, and it is only relatively recently that the efforts of the wartime Bletchley team of Alan Turing, Tommy Flowers et al have become recognised.