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Codebreakers come to crack Kendal College

22 Feb 2016

Kendal College welcomed two important guests from the home of British codebreaking earlier this month.

Students with Nicola and Tom from Bletchley Park. Bletchley park

Nicola Gale, Intel Security Online Safety Education Officer and Tom Briggs, Education Manager (Young People and Adults) from the internationally renowned Bletchley Park were invited to the College to speak to Year One and Year Two BTEC Computing students as part of their current System Security module.

Students learned all about the history of codebreaking starting with the Enigma and its application in the Second World War – the subject of the recent Academy Award nominated film, The Imitation Game -starring Benedict Cumberbatch as legendary codebreaker Alan Turing.

As part of the day, Tom demonstrated the working of the Enigma and encouraged students to take part. One group noted the rota positions and typed in a message to generate ciphered text for another group of students to decipher the message.

They also examined how the vulnerabilities that led to the deciphering of the code are still present in modern day security citing examples such as weak passwords. Nicola gave the students a presentation on staying safe online, scams, cyberbullying, and how your digital profile can affect employability.

Justin Gill, (31) a first year BTEC Computing student from Kendal, said: “The presentations were informative and the challenges were fun. For me, the most interesting fact was the amount of possible combinations the Enigma contained and the length of time it would take trying one combination per second.”

Dee MacKenzie-Eley, Computing Lecturer at Kendal College, said: “It was a real privilege to bring Nicola and Tom to the College to share, not only their expertise, but some of the UK’s most significant moments in history, with the students.

“We’re hoping to go one step further next year and plan a visit to Bletchley Park to take part in some practical workshops at the historic site.”