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.

Learn how to keep your country safe from hackers by studying their techniques and staying one step ahead.
Join Cyber Discovery and open up a whole new world of possibility.

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

Join Cyber Discovery, HM Government’s free online extracurricular programme, and take your first steps to become a cyber security expert.

Cyber Discovery is for everyone. Whether you’re already a white-hat hacker in training or you’ve never touched a keyboard before, you could be just the person we’re looking for. You’ll start by testing your natural creativity, problem solving ability, and curiosity. Then, take on the role of a security agent to crack codes and stop cyber criminals in their tracks.

Everything is done online, so you can learn at your own pace either on your own or in a team with friends.

Cyber Discovery students

You probably already have many of the key traits needed to be a cyber security expert. Team work, creative problem solving, and willpower are all essential. Put your natural abilities to use and discover an exciting new world that’s all about keeping people safe.

"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

You can take part in the programme at home or in a school club – all you need is a computer and an internet connection to get started. Register your interest for the next year of Cyber Discovery and open up a whole new world of possibility.

Cyber Discovery in a nutshell

Cyber Discovery student
Cyber Discovery is a HM Government-funded, extracurricular programme for UK students aged 13-18.
It’s completely free and you can take part on your own or as part of a Cyber Discovery Club, run by a Club Leader.
There are four stages to take part in which get more difficult as you grow your skills.
Alongside the other programme stages, you can battle against your peers in ‘Capture the Flag’ competitions in CyberStart Compete.
Cyber Discovery runs every year and you can come back and keep playing from the same point until you reach the age limit.

Key dates

Below are the key dates for this year of Cyber Discovery. If you have missed the window to try CyberStart Assess this year, you can get updates about next years opening times by registering here.

CyberStart Assess
3rd September – 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
27th July - 8th August 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.

Calling all UK teachers – we need you!

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

Become a Cyber Discovery
Club Leader
Join as a Club Leader and help uncover the hidden talent in your classrooms. Whether you teach computer science already, or just want to give your students a fantastic opportunity, Cyber Discovery can help.

Programme stages

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.
Open 3rd September – 25th October 2019

CyberStart Assess is open to all UK students aged between 13 and 18 – no previous experience necessary! You’ll take part in fun cyber security challenges that represent real-life threats faced by the cyber security industry today.

CyberStart Assess

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

Through a series of online challenges (each harder than the last!) you’ll find out if you have the right qualities to succeed in the world of cyber security.

CyberStart Assess facts

To get the most out of CyberStart Assess, you’ll need to work together with your friends and carry out research using the internet and other resources. Check out our blogs for hints, clues, and tips!

Find out more about CyberStart Assess

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 matters

You might not have considered a career in cyber security before, but you definitely should. Not only is it one of the most well-paid, in-demand sectors around, but it also offers young people the chance to forge a career doing something that matters. Cyber security professionals are the invisible digital defenders working tirelessly to keep your digital world safe all day, every day.

Top-performing students from Cyber Discovery will be invited to our career-building residential events across the UK, CyberStart Elite.

Cyber security experts are needed in all types of businesses, from the army to the police, hospitals to banks – learn the skills you need to make a difference every day in one of the fastest growing industries.

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.

Teenagers like you can become the next leaders in cyber security. Join the most in-demand industry in the world!

The industry in numbers:

billion will be invested by HM Government to transform the UK’s cyber security
million cyber security jobs predicted to be available by 2021
unemployment rate in cyber security
people currently work in cyber security-related roles in the UK


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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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Your questions answered

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 3rd September 2019.
  • The student and a member of their immediate family must live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.

If you don't meet these criteria, although you can play CyberStart Assess, you won't be eligible to progress any further. You can check out the CyberFirst website for similar programmes and courses that might suit you better.

I took part last year, but I’m now over 18. Can I join again?

Over-eighteens who have previously taken part are invited back for one bonus year of alumni access. You'll be able to take part in CyberStart Assess and (if you previously made it through to these stages) Game and Essentials too. However, to keep things fair, those older than our age limit won't be eligible to go to CyberStart Elite, regardless of performance.

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

I took part last year and made it through to CyberStart Game. Do I have to do CyberStart Assess again this year?

You don't have to redo Assess if you made it through and registered for CyberStart Game in previous years. However, all the challenges are brand new, so we'd definitely encourage you to give them a go!

Cyber Discovery students

What is the criteria for getting through to CyberStart Game?

Invites to Game are based on your scores in CyberStart Assess. Though we're keeping the exact selection scores top secret, the best way to ensure you make it through is to complete as many Assess challenges as you can!

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

CyberStart Game opens on Tuesday 5th November 2019. We'll let you know whether you've made it through or not via email. You'll also be able to sign-in to your Cyber Discovery portal and check your status on the dashboard. It may take up to 72 hours after Game opens for the invite to appear – so please give us until Friday 8th November before getting in touch to check your status!

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

CyberStart Assess will not be accessible once registration closes on 25th 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.