X-Factor Style Cyber Security Challenge Dubbed Britain’s Got Computer Talent

Cyber Security Challenge
POSTED BY Patrick ON July 26, 2010 / 3 COMMENTS

Cyber Security   Challenge

Watch The Video Below: X-Factor Style Cyber Security Challenge Dubbed Britain’s Got Computer Talent

The UK has launched an X-Factor style competition dubbed “Britain’s Got Computer Talent” in search for the next generation of top Cyber Security Experts. Called The Cyber Security Challenge is a series of national online games and competitions that aim to identify talented individuals capable of becoming part of the UK’s cyber security profession now and in the future. It consists of two initial competitions open for candidates to enter:

  1. QinetiQ Network Defence Competition
  2. SANS Institute and Sophos Security Treasure Hunt
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Each competition features virtual competition where participants compete online and a face to face playoff for the most successful participants in the virtual stage.

Prizes & Benefits:

  1. The Challenge will award more than 30 superb prizes. These will include:
    • Places on the Detica Academy
    • Funded or part-funded places for masters-level university security courses
    • Funded security courses provided by SANS Institute.
    • Memberships of trade bodies and professional associations
    • Professional mentoring sessions
    • Time on the CREST penetration test rig
    • Delegate passes to industry conferences
    • An internship at one of the UK’s premier security companies
    • Prizes will be allocated based on individuals’ ambitions and the stage they are at in their career.
  2. The Challenge will provide participants with the opportunity to use world-class technology and facilities that would otherwise be inaccessible.
  3. It will also provide a way for individuals to meet with, work with, and learn from some of the UK’s most prominent organisations in cyber security, education and politics.
    Those who demonstrate excellent levels of skill and talent will be exposed to potential employers who will look favourably on anyone who can perform well throughout the Challenge.
  4. The Challenge offers an opportunity for all participants to publicly demonstrate their cyber security skills and build their reputation with peers and potential employers as the UK’s most talented security experts.

Register to enter the Cyber Security Challenge here.

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sinspy2010 post on

Thanx for the heads-up. Count me in!

Patrick Wambu post on

Cheers. Now lets break it down!

Patrick Wambu post on

“The cipher has been broken! Thank you to everyone that participated in our first teaser test.“

Challenge 1 – We encoded a JPEG image file containing a cartoon using the base64 system. This is a typically commonplace encoding used throughout the web, and is identifiable by the equals sign at the end of the string of text. The participant had to first recognise the base64 string, decode it, realise its a JPEG file, save it and open it accordingly.

Challenge 2 – Contained within the Challenge 1 JPEG was a black and white “dotted” border which was actually a binary encoded ascii string, subsequently encoded again with ROT13 (ROT13 is a substitution cipher that substitutes a character of the alphabet with one 13 positions further on). This 2 pixel border contained a message and URL, instructing them where to go next to continue playing.

Challenge 3 – This was a more technical challenge designed to push the contestants that had got this far. The challenge was based on a bitshift operation applied to a string, here each byte’s “3 least significant bits” have been added to the left side of the byte (making them the most significant bits respectively) requiring you to reverse this operation and convert each byte to their respective ASCII values, before the message was displayed. The whole encoded string was then converted to HEX.