YEAR 10 STUDENTS BREAK CODES WITH BLETCHLEY PARK EXPERTS
On 30 March year 10 students met two visitors from Bletchley Park who each gave one hour presentations.
Catherine spoke about cyber security and showed how easy it is for people to find out your password just by looking at information on social media such as your date of birth, which football team you support or the name of your cat. She then gave the students challenges to see how quickly they could crack the passwords in a range of problems. She also gave the students a task to track phone calls made by people to show how much information you can gain from records of calls made. This information includes where the person lives, who their friends are and where they go during the day which can lead to favourite shops, their place of work or other where other members of their family live.
Tom spoke about why people want to send messages that can only be read by the intended recipient and not by anyone else. The students had a coded message that they needed to crack and with only a small amount of help everyone solved how the code worked. He gave examples of a range of different ways of encrypting messages so that they remain secret. He spoke about the importance of the person sending the message not knowing that the code had been broken by someone else. This happened in World War 2 when the Allies broke the German Enigma code but had to keep this secret so that they Allies could continue to read secretly the German messages.
He also gave the students the opportunity to code a short message on an Enigma machine and then to see how to decode it.
They were both very interesting presentations and gave Year 10 students lots of things to think about in terms of cyber security and how secrecy can be very important when sending messages.
Year 10 students were fantastic whilst listening to their presentations. They were engaged in the tasks and modelled excellent behaviour for learning.
Thank you to everyone who was involved today in getting students to the right place at the right time, coming up to attend the presentations and fixing minor problems. It all led to a very successful day.
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you are interested in learning more about Bletchley Park their website is https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/
For a chance to practice breaking codes there are lots of websites that give you the opportunity. Here are three:
And this last one was set by GCHQ a few years ago to recruit new spies
If you are interested in studying or working with cyber security, a number of universities offer courses including Warwick, Surrey, Sheffield Hallam and Birmingham. For jobs in cyber security you need experience in computing first. Search on line for computer jobs to find out what qualifications you would need for they type of job you might want to do.