In April, NTNU hosted the Norwegian Cyber Security Challenge (NCSC) finals for the third year in a row. Apart from being Norway’s national cyber security championship, NCSC 2019 also forms the basis for the selection of participants to the team that will represent Norway during the European Cyber Security Challenge. 25 people made their way to NTNU Gjøvik, most of whom qualified from the preliminary round at the beginning of March. After the national finals, the jury appointed this year’s national team. The competition had an upper age limit of 25, with five of the ten team members being juniors (16-20 years old), and the rest being seniors (20+ years old). In addition, the team has a supporting staff of six people.
Simen and Bendik both work as security analysts in mnemonic. Simen holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Security from NTNU Gjøvik, and spends a significant part of his spare time with preserving slot machines and arcade hardware and software. Just like Simen, Bendik holds a bachelor degree in Computer and Information Security from NTNU Gjøvik. He is a member of TGHack and creates Capture the Flag (CTF) security tasks for The Gathering in his spare time. Earlier this year, Bendik also won the final of the Master of Cyber Security. Both have long experience with CTF competitions, and regularly participate in these. This is the third year in a row Simen is a part of the Norwegian national team, while Bendik is joining for the first time.
The European Cyber Security Challenge 2019 is hosted by ENISA, and will this year take place in Bucharest, Romania. Here, top security talents from each participating country will meet to network and collaborate, and finally compete against each other in a technical CTF competition. Contestants will be challenged in solving security related tasks from domains such as web security, service security, hardware security, crypto puzzles, reverse engineering and forensics, and in the process collect points for solving them.
To prepare, the Norwegian team have participated in two training gatherings, as well as they have done homework related to developing tasks. However, most of the preparatory training have involved playing CTFs arranged in the period leading up to the finals in Romania.
According to Simen and Bendik, the most interesting thing about the competition is getting the opportunity to be challenged in their favourite disciplines, against opponents who are considered as the young and leading talents in their respective countries. Of course, being able to adorn yourself with a high ranking would have been fun, but the most amusing part is to show that you are able to solve good and challenging tasks.
We wish Simen, Bendik and the Norwegian national team the best of luck!
Read more about the European Cyber Security Challenge here.