New generation of student cyber innovators showcase ideas to employers

Tech Partnership degree students from across the UK showcased their ideas last week to tackle the growing threat of cyber attacks .

The cyber threat challenge – subject of the bi-annual competition for ITMB (IT Management for Business) and SDfB (Software Development for Business) students – saw teams from several universities compete to impress employers at CA’s training centre in Surrey.

Competing students were asked to identify a cyber threat within a particular industry, devise technical solutions to help businesses tackle the threats, and present their solution to a panel of employers.

“Today’s competition entries around cyber security produced some thought-provoking ideas for what is such a topical area across all businesses”, said Air Products’ director of information risk management and lead competition judge Shash Patel. “I’ve been to many of these events since the Tech Partnership degrees were created, and am always inspired by the quality and confidence of the students who come.”

Top prize of £500 went to a Loughborough University team. Their idea for an app that allows consumers to verify online purchases through their smart phone scooped first place for its innovation, alongside the group’s presentation skills and teamwork. “Our idea is a very simple one, which I believe would make it successful,” noted a member of the winning team.

Among other ideas presented was a USB decoder for employees. The proposal and prototype – created by Queen Mary SDfB students Sanjeev and Bassem – would see employees use personal decoders to unlock encrypted files on a central server.

“Even if a hacker got into the server, they couldn’t read the file. It’s a very robust two-tier defence,” said Sanjeev.

Recent figures show 86% of employers believe there is a shortage of cyber security professionals, and 83% say that cyber-attacks are among the three biggest threats facing organisations today.

“The winning ideas could create some real competition for cyber security vendors,” said Shash.

Discover more about Tech Partnership student events