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Capturing the Flag Worldwide Thanks to GEN


On Wednesday 30 September, Global Education Network partners came together and participated in the first ever virtual cyber security competition, Capture-The-Flag 2020. The competition was hosted by ITE, Singapore and joining the competition were Box Hill Institute, Australia and SAIT, Canada.

In cyber security, Capture-The-Flag (CTF), ‘flags’ are secrets hidden in purposefully-vulnerable programs or websites. Competitors steal flags either from other competitors (attack/defence-style CTFs) or from the organisers (jeopardy-style challenges).

The idea for the competition was born in February 2020 by ITE’s Dr Eric Cheung and Mr Samuel Mok, and the GEN team collaborated with the event planning, coaching of students, developing the Capture-The-Flag machines, fine-tuning the system and the selection of the participants.

ITE’s Professor Liang Zhenkai and teacher Samuel Mok provided the official welcome to the event, encouraging cyber security students to have fun and emphasising that the event was about everyone coming together. The Zoom event was brimming with excitement as everyone was getting ready and included a hint of global troubleshooting!

Each team had coaches from their respective schools and Box Hill Institute cyber security teachers, Josh Waite and David Brooks, served as coaches to Box Hill Institute students. All students completed a series of tests (almost three hours) that put their hacking skills into action to capture eight reconnaissance flags (worth 100 points) and six flags (worth 25-50 points each) on two target machines.

Certificate IV in Cyber Security student, Georgia Cadzow, said, "The GEN Capture-The-Flag provided me with an experience I would never have expected this early on in my career development."

At the end of the day, the top three team scores were:

  1. DedSec, ITE – 825 points
  2. Over 9000 Team, Box Hill Institute – 800 points
  3. Rush B / Team One, SAIT – 775 points

There were four Box Hill teams competing placing 2nd, two teams equal 5th and 9th.

Certificate IV in Cyber Security student, Bryce Campbell said, "The GEN Capture-The-Flag was a great way to show me how far I've come from when I started the Cert IV course at Box Hill Institute, and provided me with new insights. Now I am determined to compete in future competitions to hone in my skills.”

The event ended with a closing speech from Jo Cave, Box Hill Institute’s Head of Cyber and Information Technology, praising the teams and GEN on a wonderful competition.

By challenging students across the globe in remote environments, it provides GEN more opportunities to connect and engage with students in lieu of exchange programs, and these connections are more important than ever for our innovation and growth. 

GEN has some more online activities planned, so stay tuned as more information will become available soon!