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ECU blitzes the competition in Ethical Hacking Challenge

Monday, 13 October 2008

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Students from ECU's School of Computer and Information Science have beaten teams from other Western Australian universities to win the 2008 Ethical Hacking University Challenge, hosted by Ernst and Young on Friday, 3 October 2008.

The team of Phil Rosati, Kyle Tedeschi, Daniel Meakins and Glenn Mitton won the competition in the time of 43 minutes, twice as fast as the second placed team which had a time of one hour and 27 minutes.

By working collaboratively, the team from ECU was able to identify and exploit a number of security vulnerabilities, moving quickly through each phase of the challenge, and ultimately infiltrating the internal intranet of a simulated company.

ECU team supervisor and lecturer Peter Hannay explained that the team was very focussed at looking for a solution that was "right in front of them" rather than chasing possible areas that were less obvious.

"With only four members as compared to the eight members most other teams had, the team did an outstanding job of working together and combining their different skill sets," he said.

Ethical hacking is a version of hacking that is conducted with the knowledge and understanding of the system owner for the purpose of seeking vulnerable areas where a malicious hacker could attack.

Ethical hackers are also referred to as "White Hats" symbolising their good intentions while testing the defences of a given computer system. Large network systems now employ sizeable teams of ethical hackers as a standard measure to address the risk management of a corporation's exposure to a possible information security breach.

ECU's success in the Ethical Hacking competition comes after the recent opening of the Security Research Centre: SECAU.

Head of School and Director of SECAU, Associate Professor Craig Valli points out that ECU's success in winning the ethical hacking competition is indicative of the very strong emphasis now placed on the areas of network vulnerability, digital forensics, and network intrusion at the University.

"At the teaching level and at the research level, ECU's digital and computer-systems efforts have never before had such a sharp focus within the information and network security arena," he said.

"It's comforting to know that in a corporate world that is rife with cyber crime, ECU students are graduating with both the skills and the business maturity to directly engage with commercial enterprises to create real-world solutions."

For more information about the Security Research Centre at ECU visit www.secau.org.

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