Cyber Discovery Spotlight: Daniel Milnes

CyberStart
Jul 15, 2018 · 5 min read

I’ve always enjoyed breaking things, cyber security allowed me to combine that with computing.

I was given a list of suggested activities by the instructor (things like looking at Kali and OverTheWire), but my first proper education on the topic came a couple of weeks later on a CyberFirst course that I had been recommended by a friend.

CyberStart Game is like nothing I’ve ever really seen before. It was an absolute god-send for someone new to the industry, and for it to be free was the icing on the cake.

To go from “can you spot the scam email” to “can you decompile and patch this binary to extract the flag” without too much of a jump is an incredible achievement and the Cyber Discovery team should be very proud.

I was genuinely disappointed when Essentials closed, because it meant I lost access to an amazing resource that went well beyond what I had learnt in both GCSE and A-Level classes.

Looking back, my highlight of the programme has to be the night that CyberStart Game launched. As we approached midnight, the suspense on the server was palpable. We had all been waiting for this for weeks, in some case months, and had been jumping on any kind of preview that was released. Just as we got to midnight, James Lyne came on the Discord server to watch the opening, and as Game actually opened we were all blown away by the scale. The team had done an excellent job of keeping a lot of information about the programme under wraps, so as we were set loose on the monolithic amount of challenges contained within, we had no real idea what we were getting ourselves into, and there was a noticeable drop in my level of productivity for the next few weeks as me and friends worked through the challenges.

Looking forward in the short term, I am extremely excited for CyberStart Elite (badges and robot arms and CTFs, oh my…), but in the long term, I’m actually most excited for the doors that Cyber Discovery has opened for me.

Before the course, I wouldn’t have even had the faintest idea where to start with any of the challenges released by Cyber Security Challenge, and now here I am having attended 2 face-to-face competitions and with a ticket for a masterclass later this year. One of the problems that I always found looking at the cyber security industry from the outside was the lack of any entry-level programmes.

Whilst there is an abundance of higher level resources, things like DEF CON talks, and ways of practising higher level skills that you already have (services like Hack The Box fill this niche quite well). I have never really come across anything that goes from the complete basics to the advanced levels like Cyber Discovery does, and the impact it has had on my life is massive.

In my opinion, programmes like Cyber Discovery are absolutely crucial for the youth of today. Computer Science classes provide nowhere near the level of technical literacy needed for modern life.


Cyber Discovery

Cyber Discovery is an extracurricular learning programme for students aged 14–18, designed to ensure that many more people enter the cyber security profession in the coming years.

CyberStart

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CyberStart is a collection of tools that will introduce you to the cyber security industry and accelerate your entry into the profession! 💻

Cyber Discovery

Cyber Discovery is an extracurricular learning programme for students aged 14–18, designed to ensure that many more people enter the cyber security profession in the coming years.