The list of finalists for this year's Cyber Security Challenge took a further step towards completion following last weekend’s QinetiQ face to face competition – an intense day of combat involving simulated missiles and battleships!
Twenty contestants who successfully completed our first ever software development challenge from (ISC)2 were invited to QinetiQ’s London offices last weekend to form special teams of cyber defenders, responsible for securing the IT systems protecting a simulated top-secret facility.
The Command and Control face to face competition challenged candidates to identify, fix and exploit vulnerabilities in command software systems responsible for controlling missiles. Candidates had to work in teams to anticipate security breaches and avoid attack. The Competition gave candidates first-hand experience of what it takes to secure software systems and the critical impact cyber-attacks can have on the security and safety of an organisation, its people and its assets.
The competition took place over a whole day and tested both the technical and communication skills that would be required in the real-world protection of sensitive defence systems. Challengers spent the morning identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in pieces of software before presenting their findings to the senior management of the invented organisation. Marks were awarded for the competitors’ ability to explain technical risks in plain terms and influence future strategic decisions, based on this information.
The final part of the competition set competitors loose on each others’ software, using what they had learnt to exploit any vulnerabilities that their opponents may have missed. This resulted in a life-size version of battleships, allowing competitors to manipulate missiles and sink targeted vessels.
The winning team consisted of Lucy Horne, Joseph Greenwood, Richard Corfield and Robert Cook, who each received special prizes to acknowledge their success.
Alongside the tasks set by QinetiQ, each team member was assessed individually by the Challenge throughout the day and it was the result of this assessment that determined the eight who secured a place at the Masterclass final in March 2013 – well done to them all. They are:
The contest was the third of four brand new face-to-face competitions launched by Cyber Security Challenge UK to test qualifiers from its first round virtual competitions, and determine the forty finalists for the Masterclass final next year. The final competition in this stage of the Challenge will take place at Sophos this weekend.