Discover your hidden talent for cyber security

Want to protect yourself and your country from cyber attacks?
Cyber Discovery is HM Government’s free, online, extracurricular programme turning teenagers across the country into cyber security experts. For students aged 13-18, we’re seeking problem solvers, code crackers and, most importantly, those who never give up.

Cyber Discovery will immerse you into challenges, tools and games, designed to introduce you to the cyber security industry and provide some context to what professionals in the field work on.

Are you a student in the UK aged 13-18?

Cyber security is an umbrella term covering many varied and interesting areas of expertise. It can seem daunting but Cyber Discovery is a unique programme designed to introduce you to the field, highlight the potential job roles available and the pathways to achieving them.

Whether you know a bit about coding, have heard of Linux, or you've never even considered a career to do with computers, you can have a go at Cyber Discovery; no prior experience is required. The programme offers support to gradually build your knowledge and guide you through unfamiliar concepts.

Free and accessible online material means that you can get to grips with Cyber Discovery outside of lessons and work through it in your own time.

Cyber Discovery students

Team work, persistence and determination are all key within the world of cyber security; as well as receiving support through the programme, we also encourage you to work together on challenges, and make the most of each other's strengths and skills.

"The overall programme was eye-opening for me. I explored in-depth how easily cyber criminals can gain access to your data and the techniques they use, and I learned valuable skills that go way beyond GCSE and A-Level."

Previous Cyber Discovery Student

"This entire programme has helped me immensely, not only as a hobbyist struggling with the vast range of concepts in cyber security but as a student trying to find a community to fit into."

Previous Cyber Discovery Student

The first phase of the programme is designed to identify problem-solving skills, logical thinking, and to spark enthusiasm for the subject, no matter what your interests are. So what are you waiting for? Have a go today!

The programme in a nutshell

Cyber Discovery student
Cyber Discovery is a government funded programme for students in the UK aged 13-18.
Entry is free and you can participate as an individual or as part of a Cyber Discovery club, which are run by Club Leaders who are typically teachers and parents.
It has four stages, listed below. You start by registering for Cyber Discovery and then participating in a fun online assessment called CyberStart Assess.
Alongside the other programme stages, you can battle against your peers in ‘Capture the Flag’ competitions in CyberStart Compete.
The programme continues every year and you continue where you left off until you exceed the age limit.

Key dates

You can register for Cyber Discovery from now until the end of CyberStart Assess. Once registered, you’ll take part in:

CyberStart Assess
3rd September 2019 – 25th October 2019
Put your problem-solving skills to the test with a range of fun, interactive challenges where you’ll try out cracking codes and solving tricky problems.
CyberStart Game
5th November 2019 – 1st May 2020
Excel in CyberStart Assess to take on the role of a security agent in CyberStart Game and learn to crack codes, find security flaws and dissect criminals’ digital trails.
CyberStart Essentials
16th December 2019 – 1st May 2020
Show us your skills in CyberStart Game to get access to hundreds of hours of content. Train your brain to think like an expert with interactive labs, videos, exams, and quizzes.
CyberStart Elite
Summer 2020
Top-performing students will be invited to exciting face-to-face residential camps to meet industry experts and take part in top-class training.

Are you a parent or teacher?

Take a look at our club leader page for more information.

Become a club leader!
Cyber Discovery is an important part of the UK's National Cyber Security Strategy. With your help we can expose as many students as possible to the field of cyber security.

Programme stages

CyberStart Assess measures your existing knowledge, problem-solving skills, and potential for a career in cyber security.
3rd September 2019 – 25th October 2019

Designed for students of any capability, this initial assessment invites you to take on a set of fun, interactive challenges that represent realistic scenarios and threats faced by actual practitioners in the field of cyber security.

CyberStart Assess

CyberStart Assess features a handful of fun, interactive challenges where you need to find a secret code.

There are a handful of online challenges, each harder than the last, that identify those who possess the qualities needed to succeed in the later stages of the programme.

CyberStart Assess facts

The resources in CyberStart Assess are limited so you will need to work together and carry out research using the internet and resources, such as our blogs, for clues and tips.

Read more about CyberStart Assess in our blog post

Want to try something right now?

Head over to CyberStart Go, a tool we built to give you a quick sample of what CyberStart Assess and Game are like. It's free to use and features over a dozen challenges.

Why cyber security?

Cyber security specialists are in high demand, which makes this a fantastic career to pursue. Experts' knowledge and understanding of cyber criminals help to secure businesses, prevent personal data from being stolen, and make the UK a safer place to live and work online.

There is a multitude of different roles available, suited to all different kinds of people, skill sets and interests. Working in cyber security does not necessarily mean a repetitive job sitting in front of a computer all day! It can be fast-paced, challenging, fascinating and extremely rewarding.

For those who participated previously, thanks! You can continue where you left off at each stage as they re-open again this year.

Facts about year one

respondents rated their overall experience of Cyber Discovery as either 'Good' or 'Very Good'
students that played Assess and who were then invited to Game
students who are considering returning to Cyber Discovery in year 2
club leaders who are considering returning to Cyber Discovery in year 2
number of students who were invited to the final stage - CyberStart Elite


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"CyberStart Game is like nothing I've ever 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."
Daniel Milnes, Student
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"Would I recommend this? YES! Will I be signing up our pupils in the next academic year? Absolutely!"
Nazleen Rao, Club Leader

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Eligibility and selection FAQs

Who is eligible to participate in the Cyber Discovery Programme?

To participate in Cyber Discovery and be eligible for all stages of the programme, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be no younger than 13 and no older than 18 as of 1st September 2019.
  • The student and a member of their immediate family must live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.

If you meet the above criteria, you may register as a student and immediately access and play the first stage, CyberStart Assess.

Students who do not meet the above criteria will not be eligible to progress to CyberStart Game, even if their performance in CyberStart Assess meets our selection criteria.

What happens if I participated last year, but I'm now too old for the programme?

Students who joined us in the last intake but are now too old for this intake of the programme will be invited back as graduated students for a bonus one year of alumni access to the online portions of the programme.

During your bonus year, you will get access to CyberStart Assess. If you previously had access to CyberStart Game and CyberStart Essentials, you will also be able to access those stages when they open during your bonus year.

Graduated students will not be eligible to gain access to CyberStart Game or Essentials if they have not previously made it through to those stages, and will not be eligible to attend CyberStart Elite events as students.

If you have already returned for your bonus one year, you will no longer have access to Assess, Game or Essentials.

If I already made it through to CyberStart Game do I have to do CyberStart Assess again?

If you made it through to, and registered for, CyberStart Game in a previous intake, you'll automatically gain access to this year's CyberStart Game when it opens, whether or not you've done CyberStart Assess this year.

We encourage you to go give it a try though! The challenges in this intake's CyberStart Assess are all new and great practice.

Cyber Discovery students

What is the criteria for getting through to CyberStart Game?

Students who do well in CyberStart Assess will be selected to advance to CyberStart Game. We aren't releasing the specifics of our selection criteria, but we encourage students to complete as many of the CyberStart Assess challenges as they can to improve their chances of being selected for CyberStart Game.

How/when will I know if I've made it through to CyberStart Game?

Invitations will be emailed to every student who makes it through to CyberStart Game when it opens. An invitation message will also appear on your Cyber Discovery profile dashboard if you've been selected within the same timeframe.

Students who don't make it through to CyberStart Game will be notified via email after all of the invitations have gone out.

It may take up to 72 hours for all CyberStart Game invitations to be processed: please wait three full days after CyberStart Game opens and sign into Cyber Discovery to check for the invitation there before messaging into support.

Is it possible for CyberStart Assess to remain open past the close date?

CyberStart Assess will not be accessible once registration closes on 25 October 2019 until the next intake of Cyber Discovery opens in autumn 2020.


Press information

For any press enquiries please contact Babel PR on 0207 434 5550 or DCMS press office on 020 7211 2210.

Bugs and security

We've worked hard to deliver secure code, but on a platform that also lets you learn more about security flaws.

Unfortunately when it comes to security there is no state of 100% secure and bugs or defects may occur. Part of being a security professional is finding bugs and helping people fix them, following a strong code of ethics.

If you find a suspected bug or security flaw please contact with the subject "Defect" and let us know as much as you can about what you've found.

CEOP Safety Centre

CEOP helps any child or young person under the age of 18 who is being pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity of any kind. This can be something that has taken place either online or in 'the real world', or both. Visit the CEOP Safety Centre by clicking the button below.

If you require any help or further information please email and we'll be happy to help.