Portsmouth apprentice will join masters after award

SKILLS Apprentice George Hafiz, 19, won an award for tackling cyber terrorists
SKILLS Apprentice George Hafiz, 19, won an award for tackling cyber terrorists
Picture: Hampshire Constabulary/Twitter

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SOMETHING that started out as a hobby has won a Portsmouth apprentice an award for fighting online ‘cyber’ threats.

BAE Systems apprentice George Hafiz, 21, beat 19 others from across the UK to win the Sophos Wireless Infrastructure Challenge.

The challenge involved fighting off virtual threats, finding holes in networks and battling cyber terrorists in a simulated series of attacks.

George, who started his fourth year as a technical apprentice at BAE Systems in September, won the right to join industry leaders next year at a master class on combating cyber threats.

He said: ‘I am so pleased to have won the competition and get the chance to attend such a prestigious master class.

‘The support I have received from BAE Systems to develop what is a hobby into my work has really helped.’

James Lyne, who is head of Sophos’s security research, said participants had to identify, analyse and attack cyber threats like those which constantly face businesses and consumers across the UK.

He added: ‘The programming and drone elements show how the digital world can impact the physical, and I was impressed with how quickly everyone took to it.’

Martin Cooper, from BAE Maritime Services, said companies faced a growing threat of cyber attack.

‘Ensuring we have skilled people who can protect our cyber security for the future is imperative to our success,’ he said.

‘We are very excited to have talented people like George on our apprentice programme.’