Cyber security student challenge

Monday 5 May 2014

The square Swinburne logo on the west side of the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre building in Hawthorn.

Four teams of Swinburne University of Technology students will test their cyber problem solving skills in the 2014 Cyber Security Challenge Australia at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus from noon on 7 May.

Pitting their skills against other student teams from across Australia, the Swinburne students will have 24 hours to demonstrate their cyber knowledge.

The teams include students from a range of Swinburne’s undergraduate and TAFE programs including the Bachelor of Information TechnologyBachelor of Engineering (Robotics and Mechatronics) (Honours)Bachelor of Computer ScienceBachelor of ICT (Network Design and Security) and Advanced Diploma of Computer Systems Technology.

For the challenge, Telstra has set up a fictitious business website. Each team will be asked to test the overall health of this company’s security systems.

Along the way they will be required to perform a number of technical tests to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in the systems and suggest ways to make them more secure.

“The students will undertake a range of tasks including penetration tests on a web application and network, analysing the company’s product source code and checking for vulnerabilities,” Dr James Hamlyn-Harris, an organiser of the program at Swinburne’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, said.

“Raising awareness about cyber security benefits the broader community in today's digital world," Dr Hamlyn-Harris said.

“This type of competition helps us identify weaknesses in cyber systems and then develop solutions to overcome those weaknesses.”

“It also encourages people to adopt safe behaviours and practices when using the internet.”

The teams will be assessed by cyber security experts from the federal government and Telstra. Their responses will be assessed on their completeness and accuracy, with particular emphasis placed on the recommendations for resolving the identified vulnerabilities.

The winning team will win a trip to the USA to attend the 2014 Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas.

The Cyber Defence Challenge was launched in 2012 by the federal government as a way of enticing ICT university students into the information security industry.

Deputy Chair, Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Swinburne, James Hamlyn-Harris, reviews the 24-hour Cyber Challenge.