• The National Crime Agency (NCA) partnered with Cyber Security Challenge UK earlier this year to launch the CyberLand game, designed to nurture young cyber talent and reduce the global skills shortage

  • Tens of thousands of players nationally logged on to test and improve their cyber security knowledge, representing the most diverse pool of talent engaged to date

  • CyberLand and the CyberLand Challenge formed part of the NCA’s Cyber Choices programme – an ongoing effort to guide young people towards positive pathways while staying on the right side of the law

Learning in lockdown: we spent the summer in CyberLand

CyberLand launched as lockdown was enforced to offer school students confined to their homes a new and free way to develop their cyber security skills. Forming part of the National Crime Agency’s Cyber Choices programme this summer, CyberLand is suitable for all abilities and provides immersive insight into what it’s like to work in the cyber security industry. And it turned out to be the perfect distraction – tens of thousands logged on from across the UK, as well as from across the globe, to put their skills to the test and learn new ones.

“The game gave us a further insight into cyber security than any other cyber security course I have ever done. It felt more relevant to the real world than the stuff we are normally taught.” Katie, CyberLand Challenge winner

CyberLand is just one of a number of bespoke games hosted on Key topics covered include the Computer Misuse Act (1990), as well as firewalls, risks associated with using public WiFi and how to spot a phishing email. The National Crime Agency partnered with Cyber Security Challenge UK to deliver CyberLand in a joint effort to make it easy for the next generation of talent to understand the boundaries to using impressive digital ability. It aims to guide young people towards positive and rewarding higher education and career pathways, in an industry where millions of roles remain unfilled.

Wrapping up a great summer of cyber before young people returned to school, the NCA challenged players to test their newfound knowledge in the CyberLand Challenge competition with a chance to win an iPad in exchange for high scores. One competition winner said “It made it easy to understand why data protection is important, and how to spot rogue WiFi networks and phishing attacks.”

CyberLand Challenge winners commented on how much they learned from the game, in which players take on different roles to solve tasks that cyber security professionals come up against every day. Winner Oscar from South Lanarkshire told Cyber Security Challenge UK: “I thought it was a really cool interactive way to teach people about cyber security and why it’s important in the ever more connected and technology dependent world. It made it easy to understand concepts such as data protection, being able to spot phishing or rogue wireless networks, and analysing memory.”

Oscar went on to explain his interest in cyber, both now and as a future career: “My goal is to raise the public’s awareness on how they can stay safe and secure using tools like encryption and VPN. It’s easier than most people realise to keep their data safe from the likes of ransomware, or online criminals trying to intercept your information online.”

Dr Robert Nowill, Chair of The Cyber Security Challenge UK Board commented: “We are delighted to have continued our long-standing relationship with the National Crime Agency throughout the peak of this year’s Covid-19 restrictions. CyberLand was very popular across the UK, with great engagement from many thousands of players.”

Fancy a game? Play CyberLand whenever you want at