ANU computing students are at the forefront of tackling cybercrime, demonstrating strong results in the recent Cyber Security Challenge Australia (CySCA).
67 teams competed in the 2017 competition, including four ANU teams. Veteran competitor, Bachelor of Software Engineering student Ben Roberts (pictured right) led his team to a victorious fourth place by working their way through a series of 10 activities.
The three other ANU teams came in at a strong 23rd, 31st and 62nd place consecutively.
As Australia’s only national cyber security competition, CySCA is a ‘hacking’ competition run by an alliance of Australian Government, business and academic professionals who are committed to finding the next generation of Australian cyber security talent.
Over a 24 hour period, the Challenge tests students’ skills in cyber penetration and forensic analysis, and exposes undergraduate and vocational students to the variety of careers available in cyber security – while highlighting their skills to potential employers.
Team leader of the second ANU team, Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Research and Development) student Noah Ingram (pictured left), registered for the Challenge after developing an interest in the area through a uni course on cyber security.
“My team and I registered after completing a two week uni course on hacking. It was a great way to put our learning’s into practice.
“There were 10 activities, either focussing on offensive (breaking into a network), defensive (seeing who has broken in) or forensic fields.”
Deciphering code and investigating encryption for 24-hours straight in the ANU Computer Labs was tiring, but fun, according to the two team leaders.
“It can be stressful and frustrating, but the scenarios make it good fun,” said Ben.
“The activities were approachable, there were a range of questions, and I could do more than I thought I would be able to,” added Noah.
The Challenge has come at a time when Australia is increasingly at-risk of cyber-attacks.
“Being able to predict and diffuse cyber security attacks is critical in this day and age - being secure enough isn’t good enough anymore and we’re starting to see how debilitating cyber-attacks can be,” said Ben.
“These days, unless businesses make cyber security a priority, they’ll end up spend more money cleaning up the mess it causes, rather than the amount they should spend making their accounts properly secure.”
The Challenge is recommended to all computer science students as a chance to practice skills, and get noticed by future employers.
“If you’re a computer science student, it’s a great way to apply your knowledge. It can also help you get your foot in the door - prospective employers were key sponsors of the Challenge, and they closely follow the rankings of each of the universities,” said Ben.