EAST Renfrewshire schoolgirls are being challenged to show their code-breaking credentials.

The 2018 CyberFirst Girls Competition is now open to pupils aged 12 or 13.

Youngsters from the region have fared well in previous contests, with a team from St Ninian’s High flying the flag for East Renfrewshire last year.

The Giffnock school was among eight Scottish secondaries which finished in the top 100 of the UK-wide competition.

Experts have devised 100 challenges of varying difficulty for female pupils to complete during an online phase.

Entrants’ intellect and cyber skills will be tested as they decrypt a series of specially-created logic boxes and regular expression crosswords.

This year’s top 10 teams will be invited to take part in a national head-to-head final in Manchester in March.

Jeremy Fleming, director of intelligence and security organisation GCHQ, said: “We are committed to protecting the digital homeland and making the UK the safest place to live online.

“We need the best and brightest people – girls and boys – with a passion for technology, who can deliver the nation’s cyber security.”

Go to www.cyberfirst.ncsc.gov.uk/girlscompetition/ to register.