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Perth versus Canberra in ‘Capture the Flag’ – 2019

Thursday, 21 November 2019

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ECU Cyber Security students along with Australia’s Signals Directorate staff, coordinated 2019 PeCan Cyber Challenge for high school students.

Starting from scratch, then working with industry mentors and collaborating as a group, led to the creation of our inaugural Perth Versus Canberra Capture the Flag (CTF) event 2019. This was an exercise in making students aware of and attracting high schools students towards cybersecurity. PeCan 2019 was supported by ECU’s Centre of Cyber Security Excellence, Department of Premier and Cabinet and AustCyber with prizes donated by Hivint.

Both Perth and Canberra invited local schools to participate in this weekend event. Each location had 12 teams of 4 with a mix of ECU’s cyber security students and industry volunteers helping out over the two days. Saturday was dedicated to training students on how to execute the challenges and complete a CTF with Perth and Canberra taking turns with the presentations. Sunday was the big day.

In Perth, teams across two rooms worked through the challenges with the leader board changing at each turn. Congratulations goes to Crando’s Bots (Christ Church Grammar School), Cyber Defenders (Ashdale Secondary College), and Metasploits (Lake Joondalup Baptist College, Woodvale Secondary College and Prendiville Catholic College) with Perth beating Canberra overall. Out of the 48 Perth students, a quarter of the participants were girls with one being an all-girl GPN team who finished rather well. The skills and knowledge of the students were pretty evenly spread with competitors learning: ‘to pay attention to the details’, ‘critique the clues’ and if all else fails ‘social engineer the answers’!

Acknowledgements to the Perth ground crew who made this happen.

  • Adam Brickhill who developed the leader board and worked with ASD Canberra on the technical aspects of the CTF.
  • Connor Shannon who also liaised with ASD Canberra on the technical aspects and co-created our logos, presentation and marketing material.
  • Osman Chewai and Rochelle Gotico who teamed up and created our steganography challenges.
  • Jordan Davies and Sri Devalpally who researched and created the reverse engineering challenges.
  • Kenneth Tan who singularly redeveloped our digital forensics challenges.
  • Taylor Spinks for being a sounding board as well as our online tester!

The event was highly successful with plans underway for the next PeCan event on 29th and 30th September 2020.

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