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Code cracking team rises to UK challenge

Posted on 16/03/2015

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Cyber Security at Royal Holloway was established in 2013

A team of second-year PhD students from the Royal Holloway EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Cyber Security has won second prize in this year’s ‘Universally Challenged’ University Ciphers competition.

The Cyber Security Challenge UK saw teams from universities across the country pit their cyber skills against each other before a judging panel of industry experts from BSides London, CERT-UK and GCHQ who named Edinburgh Napier as the top team.

Teams were tasked to create as complicated a cipher as possible, which was then shared with all the other teams to test their skills against. They were then  challenged to break as many of the other  ciphers as possible before the competition ended.

'Alice in Cyberland', the team from Royal Holloway's success was officially announced at a ceremony in London in front of an audience of the UK’s top cyber security experts.

Professor Keith Martin, Director of the world-leading Information Security Group (ISG) at Royal Holloway said,
“This is a prestigious competition open to every university in the UK so it’s fantastic that the Royal Holloway CDT team has achieved such a strong performance. Cyber security and the ability to solve complex problems through teamwork are skills that are in heavy demand, and this challenge was a great opportunity to put the techniques our students have learnt to the test and showcase their talents.”

Dusan Repel, from the Alice in Cyberland team said, “It was a really enjoyable and fulfilling task to design a challenging puzzle that interwined program analysis and cryptography. It was an honour to have been part of the ‘Alice in Cyberland’ team at Royal Holloway’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security.”

Applications are still open for the 2015 CDT entry at Royal Holloway to start in October 2015, and there are 11 fully-funded studentships to award to qualified candidates. Funding is provided by the EPSRC, so is subject to eligibility conditions. For further details, please visit the CDT Funding page.

The ISG's MSc programme in cyber security was the first of its kind in the world, introduced in 1992 and now available to study flexibly as full-time, day release, block mode and distance learning. It has trained over 3,000 alumni from more than 100 countries to work in the information security sector.

Royal Holloway also offers leading BSc and MSci programmes in Information Security with year in industry options, taught by staff from the Information Security Group and the Department of Computer Science designed to meet the growing demand for graduates with cyber security skills.


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