A Competitor's View

Anthony Bryan talks us through what it's like to compete in the competition.


Anthony Bryan

2/18/20202 min read

I am Anthony Bryan, a recent master’s student who was introduced to the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge event last year as a member of the 3AM team from Portsmouth University, given my interest in cyber technologies and the current state of the cyber landscape. My interest in the Cyber 9/12 competition initially revolved around testing my cyber knowledge, especially with regards to incident responding and the technical challenges faced in the scenario.

Throughout the competition my perspective changed, from initially wanting to test my knowledge against the particular cyber attack to completely immersing myself into the scenario, using it as a resource to enhance my learning of the policy and strategy issues, especially, as the scenario really did reflect reality and highlighted some of the difficult choices that the government would face. What I liked most about the competition is the experience! As a university student you learn the theoretical side of cyber security, policies and international relations however, the competition set the scene for a real-life situation that requires a hands-on approach and a realistic immersive experience – as I was briefing senior cyber security leaders as if they were the government.

Anthony Bryan. Former competitor and organising team member, UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge

Anthony headshot
Anthony headshot

The biggest take away for me was the chance to create new connections with extremely well-established individuals within the cyber community (and various other cyber-related areas). These are people who have fascinating careers in cyber and who I would not necessarily meet in normal circumstances at university; connections who have given me great support when needed. One of which provided me with the opportunity of carrying out a research project on a topic which is of significant importance to internet users across the world. This all came about because I was talking to them about what I was passionate about and what I was interested in doing following my studies.

Taking part in the competition also influenced the areas of cyber security I now want to explore, shifting from software/ programming aspects towards more policy related issues. This is mainly because of how challenging the Cyber 9/12 Challenge was, but also, I can see now how important it is to deal with the crises of today and tomorrow to understand the broader areas of cyber security and its relation to decision making. Despite the challenges faced throughout the scenario, I was surprised at how fun the Cyber 9/12 competition was. There’s more to the day than just competing. I was able to converse with sponsors, listen to impressive keynote speakers and partake in a few other fun activities throughout the day, all of which got me thinking about the type of career I wanted to pursue.

Having had such an amazing experience, I am now currently involved in the organising team for this year’s Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. Its going to be interesting being a virtual event this year, but I have been a part of the core team designing the new scenario and I’ve enjoyed designing something that we hope the students will be challenged by and also enjoy. It is not long now until the competition and I hope that this year’s event will be as impactful on this year’s new competitors as it was for me. Good luck to everyone competing this year!