March 6th 2020

Cadets Become Cyber Sleuths!


Cadets working together on their CyberFirst training.

Derbyshire Army Cadets became the first Cadet force to take part in the CyberFirst Adventurers Course in the UK.


Ten Derbyshire Army Cadets took part in the National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberFirst Programme. This will soon become a regular offering to all Army Cadets in the country.

The programme is made up of a series of short courses; Adventurers, Defenders, Futures and Advanced. It is designed to introduce the younger generation into the world of cyber security.

The course begins with a presentation on the future of technology and where Cadets can play a part as a ‘cyberist’, in a diverse range of professional careers. These roles are central to maintain and develop technology that is essential to modern day life.

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A Cadet working on a CyberFirst task

Initially Cadets were divided into groups, taking on the roles of ‘Digital Detectives’, in order to identify patient zero of a viral disease outbreak (a scarily relevant exercise considering current events). Using spreadsheet data and mapping tools to track the patient down, Cadets learnt how open source intelligence can be utilised for positive and negative means, alongside the importance of data analysis.

In the second exercise, they learnt about HTML code, editing certain codes to note the effect they have on the formatting of web pages. This gave a greater appreciation of websites and services which are now taken for granted, due to the ease of their use and availability.

During the third task, the Cadets took part in an activity that tested their logical thinking and data analysis skills. The task was to pick a Quidditch team (yes, the Harry Potter game!) from a complex data set.

For the final activity, Cadets were given one hour to solve a series of puzzles and coded hidden words. Using a Caesar shift table and some intense teamwork and problem solving skills, they cracked it with just seconds to spare.

Course Instructor impressed

Course Instructor and County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) officer commented: “It has been fantastic to see the Cadets take up the different challenges with great enthusiasm. I am very much looking forward to rolling this course out to the County and inspiring Cadets to go further in their discovery of cyber technology by enrolling on further CyberFirst courses and entering competitions.”

To find out more about the Army Cadets in your area click here.

For more information on NCSC’s CyberFirst courses, competitions and apprenticeships, visit:


Cadets with their CyberFirst Certificates

"It has been fantastic to see the Cadets take up the different challenges with great enthusiasm." - Course Instructor Lieutenant Paul Thomas