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University students from across the world to take part in international cyber security competition

University students from across the world to take part in international cyber security competition

  • Date24 November 2020

The Information Security Group (ISG), at Royal Holloway, University of London, will be hosting the inaugural Capture the Flag (CTF) competition of the International Cyber Security Centre of Excellence (INCS-CoE), on 6 December 2020.

The competition will involve around 150 student finalists from 21 universities across the world, in mixed international teams, competing to solve cyber security related challenges over a marathon 24-hour period.

The competition is part of the educational programme of INCS-CoE, which is dedicated to international collaboration and friendship between academia, industry and government in the areas of research, teaching and data sharing, with Royal Holloway being one of the six charter/founder members.

The event is the first in a five year rolling programme of Country-to-Country (C2C) CTF competitions, inspired by the successful Cambridge2Cambridge event, pioneered by MIT in the USA and the University of Cambridge. This year’s C2C 2020 competition is sponsored by Royal Holloway, University of London, the UK National Cyber Security Centre, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and industry partners Gemserv and RSA.

C2C 2020 was originally planned to be held on Royal Holloway’s beautiful campus in Surrey, but in line with Covid-19 government guidance and restrictions, students will compete online. This will be facilitated by Australian company Fifth Domain and organised by Royal Holloway. There will be over 50 challenges to complete in reverse engineering, cryptography, steganography, scripting, forensics and boot2root. These include challenges of a level used for military training.

Although winning the competition will be a goal, education and the opportunity to test cyber security skills, and establishing friendships and life-long collaborations across cultures and countries, are more important, as is having fun.

Every participant will receive a certificate of attendance and the event will culminate with a prize giving celebration on 10 December. The prizes are as follows:

  • Winning team: £2,000 + RSA event ticket + award certificate
  • Second team: £1,000 + award certificate
  • Third team: £500 + award certificate.

Professor Keith Mayes, of the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway and INCS-CoE Board Member, said: “We’re thrilled to be hosting the C2C 2020 competition at Royal Holloway, bringing together the world’s talent and expertise in an event designed to expand skills and networks in the cyber workforce internationally at a critical time.”

The C2C 2020 technical organising committee is headed by Dr Daniele Sgandurra (Royal Holloway), and involves experts from the INCS-CoE universities, as well as from MIT (USA), George Mason University (USA) and Edith Cowan University (Australia).

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