August 13, 2020

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Cybersecurity Challenge to create a more cyber-prepared generation

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New Zealand’s University of Waikato, through its CROW Lab, is has started running its 2019 Cyber Challenge.

According to a recent press release, this year’s Challenge is to hack devices such as cars, drones, and home security as well as everyday appliances like the refrigerator, smart lights and even toothbrushes.

Competitors will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with other hackers, solve cyber puzzles, form teams, and defend their servers against a Red Team.

How the Challenge works

The initial rounds are carried out online and so far over 500 people from around the country have signed up, considered as the largest ever.

The competitors will then come together in person for the final round on 12 to 14 July 2019 at the University’s Hamilton Campus.

The top prize of NZ$ 5,000 on its own is a big incentive for the players. However, many of the competitors have been coming back for the opportunity to participate in the challenge itself.

According to the Head of the Lab, the NZ Cybersecurity Challenge is an opportunity for everyone at every skill level.

They are able to get some cybersecurity street cred; work, whether in teams or alone, to crack some cybersecurity puzzles; impress their peers; and simply have plenty of fun along the way.

There is a definite shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the industry. Hopefully, through the cybersecurity challenge, a more aware and cyber-ready generation in the face of the growing cyber security threats will be created.

The CROW is a research group located in the Department of Computer Science at the University, which was established in 2012.

Solving real world problems

In other news, two teams from the University came out on top of the NZ Startup Bootcamp.

After 48 hours of innovation and hard work, each team took home NZ$ 10,000.

One of the two teams in an agritech team, which developed a revolutionary way to measure soil moisture as well as salinity and fertiliser content.

They used cost effective sensors to effectively gather information with ease. This information is then stored in their database and made available to their clients via the Cloud.

Later on, this information will serve as the backbone of their Artificial Intelligence (AI) model, which will help farmers save money by providing precise information on soil condition.

The second team, meanwhile, developed Chameleon. It is a gel-based colour changing product that helps to detect gas leaks in industrial-level refrigeration systems and reduce emissions.

They learnt the value of having a product that really solves a real-life problem. Refrigeration is one of the leading causes of emissions, so Chameleon is helping to combat global warming.

Learning is valuable as well

Both groups will invest their NZ$ 10,000 into their respective businesses, and plan to launch their products in the near future.

There were winners, but there are no losers as all the participants had the opportunity to network and gain from the experience, which may be worth more than the prize money.

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