Denmark Wins 2022 European Cyber Security Challenge

The 8th annual European Cyber Security Challenge (ECSC) held in Vienna has ended after two days of intense competition. The top three participants were judged to be Denmark in first place, Germany in second place and France third. 

Run by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security  (ENISA) participants were given the task of solving security-related challenges including web and mobile security, crypto puzzles, reverse engineering and forensics to test their abilities and different cyber security skills on both defence and attack.

The top teams needed to display both technical expertise as well as the capacity to work as a team in a complex environment. 

On the first day, teams were assigned over 18 challenges to be solved in Jeopardy format testing teams capacities in a wide range of skills.  

  • Network and system knowledge are must-have skills in order to succeed. In addition to crypto and steganography, reverse engineering and exploitation know-how are just as essential as web and mobile/wireless security.  
  • Hardware hacking and escape-the-box scenarios require efficient teamwork and related skills to effectively manage the complexity of the tasks and ensure success. 

The second day brought the "supreme discipline" of the attack & defence scenarios. In this exercise, the teams had to secure their own networks but in the meantime they also had to hack the networks of the other teams. In opposition to the conventional jeopardy format, teams were given significantly more challenges to overcome in the attack & defence exercise. Here, each team had to operate in an identical environment and not only had to protect their own environment, but also to attack the other teams.

  • In the area of defence, it is important to detect attacks performed by other teams through analysis of network traffic, log files or other artefacts left behind by the attackers. 
  • In the meantime, it is also necessary to eliminate the vulnerabilities in the applications to be protected without impairing the functionality or availability. 
  • At the same time, the assets of the other teams must be attacked in order to steal secret data - a 'capture the flag' exercise. 

With 33 teams competing against each other, the pressure on each team was high, boosted by the motivation to perform at their best and find smart ways to achieve the efficiency required. 

Those teams who were the most flexible and who could respond the fastest to the evolving scenarios and change strategies were ruled the most successful.

ENISA:    ENISA:

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