Competitors triumph against GCHQ and DTex Systems in challenges designed to tackle risk analysis and policy in cyber security
Balancing the Defence was the first ever Cyber Security Challenge UK competition designed and run by the Government’s Intelligence Agency, GCHQ. The competition challenged competitors to manage the risks posed by attacks from hostile states, organised criminal cyber gangs or even individual hackers to a simulated government IT system.
The game was played during October and asked players to analyse a mocked-up network representing that typically found across government departments. Successful players had to look for vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit, prioritise the threats and, whilst working to a tight budget, suggest a range of defensive controls, both technical and policy based, to reduce the risk to the network. Following this analysis, competitors had to submit a report with their proposed security solution.
Alex Mason won the competition with a total of 52 out of a possible 56 points – Sebastian Coles and Colin Powers achieved second and third place, respectively. They will join other finalists at the next stage of the Cyber Security Challenge UK. This will be a Face to Face competition, developed by Orange with Prodrive, the British motorsport and automotive engineering group, and held at Banbury on Saturday 24th November 2012.
At the Face to Face, they will compete with 15 candidates taken from the Dtex Systems’ Insider threat game. Dtex Systems – a global leader in user activity monitoring and internal security solutions – challenged candidates with a competition that looked at insider threat investigation and preventing leaks of commercial IP. Competitors acted as an external security consultant for a fictitious mobile app development start-up called Online Mobile Gaming (OMG). In this scenario OMG had rapidly expanded its workforce in anticipation of the release of its newest game, MoodyCatz, but was yet to implement adequate IT controls.
In a problem which has become frighteningly commonplace, a few weeks before the game’s release, a rival mobile app company released a very similar game, FuriousCatz. OMG’s Directors suspected insider involvement. The candidate’s job was to use their forensic investigation skills to identify the high-risk users carrying out the activities responsible for the leaks.
Stephen Miller topped the leader board with 27 out of 30 points – Imran Aftab and Steve Martin achieved second and third place, respectively.
At the Face to Face competition, candidates will come up against a real life motorsport set-up, pit crew, technical team and a complex ICT infrastructure which connects them all. Their task will be to deliver a practical security solution that protects the team’s IP and confidential information from its rivals.