Is Ed Ouzman the future of cyber security? Witchford Village College head boy from Ely makes it to national finals

Ed Ouzman competing for team ‘Long Barrels’ at the Cyber Security Challenge UK face-to-face competit

Ed Ouzman competing for team ‘Long Barrels’ at the Cyber Security Challenge UK face-to-face competition in Oxfordshire. - Credit: Archant

A 15-year-old from Ely who goes to Witchford Village College has made the finals of a national cyber security competition – having been suggested to enter by his ICT teacher.

Ed Ouzman, who makes apps and websites in his spare time and is a head boy at the college, was the youngest contestant in the Cyber Security Challenge UK contest – which was judged by 15 military officials and cyber security experts.

After completing a series of online challenges, Ed was put through to the face-to-face selection process at The Defence Acamdey in Shivenham, Oxfordshire. The event, which was sponsored by Her Majesty’s Government Communications Centre, created a pop-up network for 25 contestants to demonstrate their cyber skills in a bid to earn a place at the Challenge Masterclass, future jobs in the industry and an opportunity to help protect the UK from cyber threats.

A college spokesman said: “One of the challenges was a scenario that saw contestants use their cyber security skills to safeguard experimental soldier geo-tracking technology.

“Midway through the test, a nefarious hacktivist group hijacked the system using a man-in-the-middle attack, a sophisticated type of cyber-attack in which attackers intercept and manipulate communications between two parties without detection.

“The team lost contact with the soldiers, and raced against the clock to remediate the situation. Candidates were ordered to report to military chiefs to explain why contact was lost, and had to advise on how to respond within international legal guidelines.

“There were also side tasks such as puzzles and ciphers hidden around the military site and a lock-picking challenge.”

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Bryony Chinnery, from Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “Ed smashed it out of the park, by a mile.”

During the competition, Ed was interviewed by national media including The Times Newspaper who said “the strongest candidate this year, on every measure, was also the youngest.

“Edward Ouzman, 15, a student from Ely, Cambridgeshire, who makes websites and apps in his spare time, had entered the competition after a suggestion from a teacher. He has had several offers of work placements.”

By defeating 24 other competitors, Ed will compete against 11 others at the Masterclass finals held in London in November.

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