UT students win a hacking competition

| Michaela Nesvarova

Under the name ‘High Tech Hacking Touch’, a group of nine UT students won a cyber security competition ‘Challenge the Cyber’ held on Saturday in Zoetermeer. They beat twelve other teams from all over the Netherlands and qualified for the European Cyber Security Challenge in Bucharest next month.

The winning team ‘High Tech Hacking Touch'. From left to right: Andreas Peter (coach), Diederik Bakker, Jasper Boot, Olaf Haalstra, Wouter Kobes, Vincent Dunning, Mathijs van de Zande, David Stritzl, Æde Symen Hoekstra, Ivan Lukman

 ‘Challenge the Cyber’ is a Capture the Flag event organized by dcypher and the NCSC. Its first edition on the 7th of September involved thirteen teams with roughly 100 students in total, all from different educational levels and institutes. The University of Twente was represented by team ‘High Tech Hacking Touch’ consisting of nine Master students of Cyber Security. One of the members, Olaf Haalstra, tells us more.

The name of the challenge was ‘hack yourself to Mars’. What was the competition all about?

Haalstra: ‘The competition was basically a game with a story. The story said that the Earth had been destroyed and that we were on a spaceship. But the spaceship was broken and we needed to fix it by hacking certain parts, so that we could fly to Mars. But nobody made it. We only solved about 75% of the challenges – and that was the best result.’

How did you manage to win?

‘We put a lot of effort in keeping things organized and coordinated during the game. We had five and a half hours to complete all the challenges, which was quite short. Everybody needed a little bit more time, but we got through a lot because we started with the easy parts.’

What did you win?

‘We got a trophy, but that was of course not the best part. The coolest part is that we won a spot in the European Cyber Security Challenge in Bucharest. There we will represent the Netherlands and play against twenty other countries. The competition has two categories, divided by age. We will go there with five members, all in the older category, but we will get five additional younger members for the contest in Bucharest. Everyone was super excited to win and we really want to go. We will do a few practice sessions and we will try to get the entire team together, so that we can make clear rules on how to communicate and organize during the game. We are really looking forward to it.’