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Royal Holloway PhD students win global cybersecurity contest

Royal Holloway PhD students win global cybersecurity contest

  • Date07 December 2018

Outstanding success for Royal Holloway team against competitors from 150 leading universities around the world

Winners of the Global CTF cybersecurity competition 2018

Global CTF winners: Claudio Rizzo, Emanuele Uliana and Roberto Jordaney

The winning line up of PhD students from Royal Holloway were participating in the first global online capture-the-flag (CTF) competition and the results were announced during the 7th International Cybersecurity Symposium held at Keio University, Tokyo on 27 November 2018.

The CTF competition was played by 150 students from leading universities all around the world, and the Royal Holloway team faced contenders from Cambridge, University of Tokyo, Keio University, Oxford and MIT among others.

Emanuele Uliana was awarded first place, and Claudio Rizzo came second, both of them are PhD students in Computer Science at Royal Holloway. In addition, the ‘Ethical Disclosure Award’ was given to Roberto Jordaney, a PhD student in the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway, who was praised during the ceremony for his findings - discovering a vulnerability in the platform - and his ethical behavior for reporting the vulnerability to the provider for fixing.

Overall, it was an outstanding result for the team from Royal Holloway who were successful in scoring the highest number of points (flags) achieved, with 71 points, ahead of Cambridge who came second with 41 points and Tokyo came third with 19 points. Royal Holloway also came second for securing the highest average points per student.

The international symposium was attended by Daniele Sgandurra, Senior Lecturer in Software Security at Royal Holloway, who presented the five-year plan for the Global Capture the Flag CTF initiative called C2C (Country2Country), which is the successor of the Cambridge2Cambridge CTF.

The C2C initiative is led by the InterNational Cyber Security Center of Excellence (INCS-CoE) with support for the Online Global CTF awarded in Tokyo from Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, and HyperQube. Royal Holloway is one of the six charter (founding) members of INCS-CoE, with its global vision to entice thousands of people worldwide to study cyber security at university-level. Its goals are based upon the observation that protection against cyber-criminal and state-sponsored attacks will need a large cohort of skilled individuals with an understanding of principles of cyber-security and practical experience of these principals.


Royal Holloway has a thriving PhD programme in Information Security and Computer Science, linked to an outstanding research record and long-standing, deep engagement with industry and government. Students can pursue their PhD studies via a three year research based PhD programme or as part of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security (CDT), a four year programme with a one year compulsory interdisciplinary training in Cyber Security.


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