18 July 2023

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"Priory pupils were amazing in showing off their code breaking skills especially as they were competing against three other schools", says Mrs Qadri, Head of ICT & Computing.

The Year 10 GCSE Computer Science pupils took part in a cyber themed workshop/escape room event at Lancaster University School of Mathematics on 6 July.

The college had organised for Tablet Academy to set up  the scenario for the activities. Students were provided with an opportunity to learn more about cryptography and the mathematics behind it. It allowed them to develop and show off their code-cracking skills in a unique escape room environment.  The event also supported the skills pupils have learnt in their GCSE Computer Science lessons.

During the cyber-themed workshop, pupils were ‘locked’ into a crisis centre and had to work together, against the clock, to solve a series of cryptic clues in order to prevent a cyber-attack from being released upon the nation’s infrastructure and return control of the RAF’s ground observation satellite Carbonite 2. Only once the virus is stopped can they leave their posts!

The 'Cyber Security Crisis Activity' was an off-shoot of the popular ‘escape room’ model in which students must solve clues in order to open physical locks and/or unlock password-protected files. The day consisted of a hypothetical cyber attack and clues to help the pupils crack the codes.

Students were split up into small groups and assigned a laptop which was password protected. They were given a few clues to try and work out what the password was. Pupils used the Caesar Cipher wheel to work out a message and then went onto using a tape measure with letters on it to find out the password.

A USB stick with a lot of files with text and images was provided to the students to use with the laptop which the students had to search through to find hidden messages.

Students had to edit and manipulate an audio file to find a secret message and then change the colour and brightness on an image to find a hidden sentence.

Students then had to open an image in a program and link the numbers with elements on a science periodic table to find the final clue to use the first three numbers of a suspect’s national number. Those three numbers were crucial to open a brief case and win the task.

What did you think of your visit, Year 10?

Megan H said, "We used a cephas caesar, found hidden messages and reversed audio to find a password and prevent a hypothetical satellite from exploding. It was a lot of fun and we also got a tour of the college!"

Issac S said, "We had a challenging task of finding the pass code to a briefcase through a series of cyphers and codes. We were tasked to stop the virus 'Stuxnet'. 

"Overall, LUSoM was a brilliant and challenging experience that showed us all what a brilliant place it really was!"

Zack H said, "We stopped a group of hackers from taking down a satellite network by using clues left by the hackers to crack and disable the virus.

"We had to break into a laptop using the hackers info and details and when we got in we had to read through the meta data of the hackers personal pictures and audio recordings. Overall it was fun and we had a great time at LUSoM."

Silas H-R said, "We went Lancaster University school of mathematics to stop a cyber security attack called Stuxnet, I loved it and it was exciting."

A proud Mrs Qadri added, "Our school teams finished way before all the other school teams and were given extra challenges to keep them busy!"

Well done to the winning team - Megan H, Sarah S and Issac S!

LUSoM Cyber Day - July 2023

Tags: Careers Year 10 Computer Science