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Department of Computer Science and Technology

Student group at Cyber 9/12

Gary Dreyer, Ainsley Katz, Jamie MacColl and Tomass Pildegovics won first place in a national cyber competition, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. The four Cambridge MPhil students in International Relations and Politics were sponsored by Cambridge's Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research. Professor Frank Stajano, head of the ACE-CSR, was delighted to cover their expenses and, more importantly, to put them in touch with a tech-savvy mentor, ACE-CSR member Dr Jat Singh, who has a multi-disciplinary background in both computer science and law.

The Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a competition designed to identify and foster the next generation of policy and strategy leaders for the cyber security challenges of the future. These competitions take place internationally (Austin, Lille, London, Washington, Geneva, and Sydney), but our students attended the event in London.

In the competition, teams take on the role of senior advisors to government Ministers in responding to an evolving cyber attack. Over two days, the scenario evolves through three rounds with a grand finale in front of senior UK cyber security experts. The competition is multidisciplinary in nature, allowing those with a non-technical background to test the waters of both cyber security and policymaking. The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge underscores the importance of blended learning and cross-sectoral coordination that are critical to cyber security. This, in turn, emphasizes the value of a diverse and innovative cyber-security workforce.

This kind of policy-oriented cyber competition is a valuable complement to the more technology-oriented hacking challenges that the Cambridge ACE-CSR founded and ran in previous years, the national-level Inter-ACE and the international Cambridge 2 Cambridge. Team CamPhishing placed first out of seventeen teams from various UK universities. Its members are now considering cyber as a potential future career.

Published by Jan Samols on Monday 4th March 2019