The country’s brightest young cyber minds have been crowned winners of Matrix Challenge 2020, a competition pitting the most talented 11-17-year-olds against a series of digital tasks aimed at promoting positive pathways into cyber security careers.
Beginning in January 2020, the competition saw 65,000 participants from around the United Kingdom use their digital skills to tackle coding, code breaking and knowledge-based challenges, with winners crowned in two age categories.
Over 28,000 from the West Midlands region took part, with 20 making it to the final events, held remotely in January.
In the 15-17 age group, 17-year-old Hannah Southall from Surrey was declared the winner, beating around 250 other competitors in her age category to win a Nintendo Switch console and Raspberry Pi 4 setup.
Taha Abuhamira, 14 from South Shields, won the 11-14-year-old category, out of around 250 in his age category to also win a Nintendo Switch console and Raspberry Pi 4 setup.
The Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit first developed the Matrix Challenge in 2018 to promote key cyber security messages to young people.
Although the 2020 edition was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it proved to be the most widely participated event yet, with police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) leading the initiative across the country.
After the semi-finals were postponed, 20 people took part in the final from the West Midlands Region, competing against others with similar skills!
A huge well done to everyone who made it to the finals and a very big congratulations to our highest placing contestants from the West Midlands region.
- Nick Evans, age 15 – got the highest points in our region, the highest in his age bracket for our region 15-17 and placed 10th nationally.
- Rajveer Sandhu, age 14th – got the second highest points in our region and the highest in his age range 11-14 for our region.
You all impressed us with your cyber skills. Keep up the great work!
David Malkin, Head of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Cyber Crime Unit, said: “This year has been our most successful Matrix Challenge to date, and there’s no doubt the standard of contestants was higher than we’ve ever seen before. The UK is blessed to have so many talented individuals and a huge well done to the winners.”
“The challenge has been proven to educate young people and improve their knowledge around the computer misuse act, as well as how to stay safe online, so each participant will have taken something away from the competition. Equally, the challenge has proven to be a great lead into cyber and digital careers, engaging with young people from a variety of diverse backgrounds.”
“Running the Matrix Challenge during the pandemic has presented many unique challenges, and I’m really grateful for the collaborative effort of colleagues in both public and private sector agencies, particularly the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), Toasted Digital, Vodafone and colleagues across the ROCU network, who helped deliver an exciting and informative learning experience to every part of the UK.”
“No doubt the good work of the Matrix Challenge will continue to accelerate in 2021, with plans to deliver new, fresh and exciting content to the platform we hope to see even more talented young people engaged”.