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Royal Holloway Students win international cyber security competition

  • Date28 December 2020

Two students from Royal Holloway were amongst the winners of the Country-2-Country 2020 (C2C2020) – an inaugural, online capture the flag competition organised by the International Cyber Security Centre of Excellence (INCS-CoE).


The inaugural C2C 2020 was an online event on 6 December 2020

Each of the teams who took part were mixed by nation and institution, in the INCS-CoE spirit of promoting international collaboration and friendship within cyber security education, with students Marcel Armour from the Information Security Group (ISG) and James Whaley, from the Computer Science Department, part of the winning teams.

The competition was closely fought to the end, with impressive individual and team performances and  involved around 150 student finalists from 21 universities across the world competing to solve cyber security related challenges over a marathon 24-hour period.

The winners were announced during an online awards ceremoney hosted by Professor Keith Mayes, INCS-CoE and ISG Director at Royal Holloway, with a welcome from the university’s Principal, Professor Paul Layzell and presentations from the sponsors.

Marcel Armour, from the winning team BONTS said: "Competing in the inaugural C2C2020 was an honour and an amazing opportunity to learn new skills and tools, as well as getting to work with some amazing teammates and against some brilliant competitors.

"As someone who is relatively new to the world of capture the flag, this was a great chance to put some skills I’ve been working on to the test in a friendly and exciting environment.

"The CTF was well run with a variety of thought provoking challenges for all skill levels.

"I'd like to thank all the organisers for their hard work and the sponsors for supporting the event and my awesome team mates."

James Whaley from second place team 0x45 added: "I had great fun and got to chat with people from around the world. I owe our placement to the cooperation of my teammates."

Professor Keith Mayes said: "On behalf of INCS-CoE and the ISG, I would like to say what a great honour it was to host the first Country-2-Country competition in the INCS-CoE five-year schedule.

"We are thankful to everyone around the world who contributed to such a successful event, whether as organisers, sponsors or competitors.

"To have Royal Holloway competitors in the top two teams was the icing on the cake, and many deserved congratulations to Marcel and James.

"Alas, there is not much time for us to rest on our laurels as C2C2021 is rapidly approaching."

The event was only possible thanks to the great support and sponsorship from the UK National Cyber Security Centre, the UK department for Digital Culture Media and Sport, Gemserv, RSA, INCS-CoE and Royal Holloway; using systems and challenges from Fifth Domain.

The ISG's Dr Daniele Sgandurra was chair of the international organising committee, which included representatives from, University of Cambridge (UK), MIT (USA), George Mason University (USA), Edith Cowan University (Australia), Technion (Israel), Keio University (Japan), UMBC (USA) and Royal Holloway.

The next four C2Cs will be hosted by Technion, MIT, Keio University and Edith Cowan University.


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