In Summary

Over the weekend Swinburne University of Technology students competed in the Cyber Security Awareness Week 2014 (CSAW) Capture the Flag qualification round.

This is an international competition for cyber security students, professionals and enthusiasts.

The qualification round is open to anyone with the best US teams taking part in the final round – which is only open to US citizens – in New York later this year.

The competition ran for 48 hours non-stop. Swinburne provided a team in the undergraduate category, which came third out of all Australian university teams.

The challenges included trivia, discovering personal information about the judges, code breaking, penetrating specially designed websites, eForensics and reverse-engineering compiled computer programs.

Team coach Dr James Hamlyn-Harris said: “This is a particularly enjoyable competition. The range of challenges allows students new to cyber security to earn points, while the advanced students can focus on the really hard challenges, sometimes spending hours to solve a problem.

“We all learn a lot during these competitions, particularly in areas of cyber security we can’t cover in our undergraduate curricula. 

“Being a qualification round for a US competition we can’t win, so there is less pressure to perform than in our regular national competitions, allowing the students to relax and enjoy the journey and the process of learning new skills.”

Many of Swinburne’s competitors are members of the Swinburne Cyber Security Club (SCSC), which runs training and presentations on cyber security each fortnight, when they are not in competitions. Interested students can contact the club through its Facebook page or through Dr Hamlyn-Harris