Lancaster University students achieve top three ranking in international cyber security competition


A team of Lancaster University computing students has achieved a top three ranking in a prestigious international cyber security competition.

Competing against 75 civil and military teams from seven countries, the Lancaster University Ethical Hacking Group (LUHack) came third in the ‘Ciber Perceu 2020’ event.  

The competition was organised by the Portuguese Army, in conjunction with redshift Consulting and IHackLabs, as a cyber defence exercise.

The competition involved the teams undergoing a series of cyber security exercises including hiding and discovering secret information within files, finding vulnerabilities by reverse engineering software code, and forensically analysing a computer to identify how an attack took place.

The LUHack team members were: Henry Clarke who is studying MSc Cyber Security; Harry Balderstone and Matthew Marsden who are studying for PhDs in Computer Science; Ben Simms, Alex Butler, Antonio Loureiro Harley and Simao Duarte Lourenco, who are all third year undergraduate Computer Science students; and William Sadler, a second year Mathematics and Statistics student.

Matthew Marsden said: "Managing to perform well together as a team against some of the best represented organisations in cyber was a real pleasure for us. The key problem solving skills and technical aptitude possessed by each member of our team were vital for success.

“We are proud of our ability to communicate and work as a group. We've proved with this capture the flag success that LUHack has fostered strong cyber security skills in its members, and we're immensely proud of the accomplishment of 3rd place.

“This is another capture the flag that we can add to our growing number of success stories as we hope to continue on this path and keep representing Lancaster University and LUHack in great ways."

Dr Daniel Prince, Senior Lecturer in Cyber Security at Lancaster University and Director of the MSc Cyber Security Programme, said: “It is great to see the success of our students competing against some of the best cyber incident response teams in the world. The work the society LUHack does to support students to grow their skills and experience, matches our approach in our educational programmes. This all adds up to foster well rounded, capable cyber security leaders of the future.”

Ric Derbyshire, a PhD student who was not participating but helped to found LUHack and is a former President of the group, said: “It is incredible to see the group flourish and provide such fierce competition against military incident response teams across Europe. LUHack’s focus has always been practical skills to take into the cyber security workplace, while consistently trying to push the boundaries of what a university hacking society can do to provide training, support, and community. This just goes to show that the group is succeeding in its goals due to the talent and dedication that is fostered not only in LUHack but Lancaster University as a whole."

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