UK comes third in European cybersecurity contest
How would you cope if you were faced with the challenge of defusing a bomb, locked in a secure room, with only your digital know how to get in there and save the day? This was one of the tasks facing the teams in the European Cyber Security Challenge, held in the impressive event space at Tobacco Dock in London recently. Encouragingly, the UK team put in an excellent showing.
The organizers ensured this was no easy task and there were some clever twists and turns for the competitors to negotiate; an entry keypad craftily hidden by a hanging coat was just one example. However, this proved to be no barrier for most of these inventive and creative teams, who soon overcame this initial obstacle and went on to successfully complete the task. Not all the challenges were quite so ‘Mission Impossible’ in style, but they were certainly all designed to test the ingenuity and skills of young cyber security enthusiasts. The event was hosted by Cyber Security Challenge UK, and proved to be a great hit with all the competitors.
After being in the lead for the first day, the UK Team eventually came a very creditable third out of the 17 teams from across Europe that participated, with Germany just pipping France to first place in what turned out to be an intensely fought and very lively final. Each team comprised five younger contestants from 14 to 20 and a further five contestants in the 21 to 25 age range. Each team had a head coach who mentored the individual members of the team, but was not allowed to help them during the specific tasks. They really were on their own when it came to cracking some very sophisticated challenges. The lion’s share of the points up for grabs were for a Capture The Flag competition, where hackers had to defend and attack networks making use of specific software and techniques.
The gamification of cyber security challenges into open competitions is all about encouraging talented young coders and video gamer to think seriously about a career in the sector, including responsible IT asset disposal. This is the generation who will be responsible not only for our national security, but perhaps more pragmatically for ensuring that we continue to improve on our secure IT disposals in order to avoid putting our data at risk, wasting precious resources and damaging our planet. With only 20% of the world’s e-waste currently being recycled, this issue is certainly going to be increasingly important in the years to come, and IT asset disposal services will no doubt play an ever more pivotal role.
There is no doubt that attracting these brilliant young minds to the cyber security industry can only be a good thing for everyone. In a parallel event called Cyber Re:coded, competitors were able to find out more about potential careers and meet a range of people currently working in the industry.
As the organizers themselves state, the goal of this event was to promote:
“…a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of democratic values, freedom of thought, dignity and critical thinking.”