This year again, the Cyber Security Challenge Belgium organized by Nviso gathered over 800 participants during the qualifications – that’s about 300 teams! The top 25 teams were selected for the final, which took place on the 24th and 25th of March at the Royal Military Academy. One of our third-year students, Matthieu Daumas, participated in the final.
What is the Cyber Security Challenge Belgium?
The participants had to solve Capture the Flag challenges within certain time limits. These challenges are essentially games that exploit vulnerable software created for the occasion. The challenges range in difficulty from “easy” to “expert”. The goal is to solve as many challenges as possible and earn as many points as possible.
Even though Cyber Security Challenge Belgium is aimed at students, many companies are also present at this event. It is an opportunity for the students to network and meet potential future employers.
Matthieu and his teammates ranked 11th during this year’s contest – a result we are very proud of at Epitech, given the competition! We asked Matthieu what his impression of the whole experience is.
Can you describe in a few words the atmosphere during the final at the Royal Military Academy?
The atmosphere was stressful and hectic, but at times there were also phases of relaxation and discussion with the other participants. It was both very instructive and intriguing to be part of such a structure.
What did you think of the level of the different challenges? Are they feasible for students?
The CTF challenges of the 1st day were more complicated than during the qualifications, but still accessible for students interested in cybersecurity. At the end of this first day, only the best 25 teams (out of 42) are selected for the next day. We placed 8th!
The second day was very different from the first. Each organizing partner created a 15-minute challenge for every group of students to complete. The challenges ranged from simple network analysis to the simulation of a corporate attack, to infiltration, and information retrieval from a private home. For this part, we came in 9th place.
Is there a challenge that marked you in particular? What did it consist of?
One of the most striking challenges was to react to a staged cyber-attack (expert level). The pressure was quite high because we had to act quickly, but we still managed to counter the attack. Although this was a staged exercise, it is easy to imagine that such a scenario could happen in real life.
Did you also have time to network in addition to solving most of the challenges?
We had the opportunity to talk with the other students and partners during the big dinner organized at the end of the 1st day and during the moments of relaxation between the different challenges.
Your team was ranked 11th. It is already prestigious, but what is your feeling?
The ranking was established on the sum of the points of the two final days. Having finished with just over 1900 points, we missed the top 10 by 6 points! But every team deserved its place. If we were to participate again in the Cyber Security Challenge Belgium, it would not be unrealistic to say that we could be in the top 5. We had a great time and above all, we had the opportunity to learn a lot from our mistakes and the experience of the other participants.