The Ghost of John Napier: Edinburgh Napier team focuses on University Cipher Challenges


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After being one of the finalists last year, and one of the 11 teams taking part this year, a team of Edinburgh Napier students and academics are taking part in: Cyber Security Challenge UK: “Universally Challenged” Competition 2014/15.

In the year of John Napier's 400th anniversary of the date of discovering logarithms (1614), the team is named Ghost of John Napier, and aim to represent both the university, and the memory of the great scientist.

Details of the competition

Why should you take part?

  • It’s fun
  • This competition allows inclusion of international students to participate as entrants of the teams.
  • Your code/puzzle will be reviewed and assessed by a panel of industry experts before we unleash it to other university teams to play.
  •  You will get the chance to test personal skills and watch a leader board showing fellow University team scores from across the UK.
  • You will receive feedback and a certificate of entry from industry; raise the reputation of your University’s capability and your team could be crowned winners at a Cyber Security Challenge UK event in 2015.
  • Your profile will be raised via PR through our social media and press coverage capability.

How do you win?

You create a cool cipher and crack as many others as your team can. If you find innovative ways to link it to your course or Professors...then great!

Intro: What makes a good code breaking puzzle? An example of one of ours is here:

that was an easy one, but it gives you the idea!


The following technical rules will be checked, so please stay within the guidelines:

A. Think of a great name for your team/entry. Create a Twitter handle for it and follow us @Cyberchallenge and here: @stephkayaks then we can keep in touch!

B. The output of any encryption or encoding must be in UK English.

C. Codes/puzzles that require brute force or dictionary attacks should be computationally possible, within a reasonable time frame. The success of completing your challenge should be a test of lateral thinking and problem solving, not computational power and resources.

So for example, the use of an exceptionally long, random string as an encryption key is not permitted.

More details here.

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Associated people

William Buchanan
Director of CDCS
+44 131 455 2759
Electronic information now plays a vital role in almost every aspect of our daily lives. So the need for a secure and trustworthy online infrastructure is more important than ever. without it, not only the growth of the internet but our personal interactions and the economy itself could be at risk.