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Cyber win for Cardiff students

29 March 2019

Cyber challenge participants

Students from Cardiff University have claimed first prize in a national cyber security competition.

Undergraduates from the School of Computer Science and Informatics beat teams from the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London to land first place in the Higher Education Cyber Challenge.

The Cardiff team featured Lewis Parsons, Benjamin Hughes, Jack Furby and David Buchanan, who also took home the prize for the highest scoring individual.

David said: “It was a really valuable experience that allowed us to practice our cyber security skills in a safe environment, helped us network with other students with shared interests and won the attentions of employers and recruiters who are crying out for work-ready graduates with cyber skills.”

“The competition involved a range of tasks, from reverse engineering, binary exploitation, forensics and networking through to cryptography, programming, and other skills. As a team we scored just enough to narrowly beat Cambridge and Imperial.”

Fourteen UK universities fielded 26 teams. Students battled it out in a ‘Capture the Flag’ tournament in which one team defended a network or server whilst the other tried to attack it.

Held at the University of Southampton, the competition was open to all UK Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR).

The status of an ACE-CSR is awarded to UK universities by the National Cyber Security Centre and is a recognition of internationally excellent research taken place at a specific institution.

Cardiff University became the first institution in Wales to be recognised as an ACE-CSR last year.

The award was in recognition of the leading research developed at the University over a number of years, and is allowing academics to feed directly into the UK Government’s strategy of making the country more resilient to cyber-attacks.

The accreditation is helping the University to nurture more young talent and foster a pipeline of the next generation of cyber security professionals.

Professor Pete Burnap, School of Computer Science and Informatics, said: “It is fantastic to see our students taking part in national competitions such as this and using their skills and knowledge to tackle complex cybersecurity challenges. They are the future of cybersecurity in the UK and we are proud to see them taking on such challenges to establish their own reputation in the field. It will open doors to them for future employment and helps build their professional networks."

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