UWA students put their hacking skills to the test in a capture the flag competition, part of a wider cyber security event hosted by the University and the IT industry earlier this month.
The event aimed to showcase WA’s developing cyber security talent in front of industry partners searching for these skills and encourage those with an interest in the area to investigate possible career paths.
University IT Associate Director, Lee Patterson says the event was one way the industry is trying to stem the flow of security skills heading out of WA.
“Too many people with exceptional talents move east or overseas due to insufficient local demand.
“We thought by bringing students and industry together, the connections made would not only raise the profile of the industry and identify the types of careers available but also showcase the remarkable people we have here in WA,” he says.
A highlight of the event was the hacking competition and Lee says it was especially rewarding to see UWA students get involved and do so well.
“Overall there were 120 competitors, with 20 from UWA. Most competed in teams but eventual winner, Ridge Shrubsall decided to go it alone and came out victorious, which is a wonderful effort.
“Ridge is in his final year of his Masters of Professional Engineering. He’s clearly very talented in the cyber security space and just what employers are looking for.
“Our other two UWA teams came in the top ten, so we really have some talent in this area,” he says.
As cyber security risks grow and attacks on organisations and governments worldwide become more sophisticated, Lee says it’s now more important than ever that everyone plays their part to be cyber safe.
“It’s great to help groom the future of cyber security, but we all need to take some responsibility when it comes to being cyber safe. Whether you’re at home or at work everyone needs to be aware of the risks involved with being online.
“Being able to identify email phishing scams and ensuring you have strong passwords in the workplace and at home are two easy steps everyone can take instantly.”
Lee says increasing awareness of cyber security across the University is a priority for University IT in 2018 and he’s looking forward to working with students and staff on this program of work.
“I’m more than happy to come and speak to teams about what it means to be cyber aware, what to look out for, where the major risks are.
“The feedback I’ve received from these training sessions in the past has been really positive and there’s been quite a few light bulb moments for participants.
“In the end, being cyber safe doesn’t need to be cumbersome, or time-consuming, it’s just about being smart about how you protect your data,” he says.
For more information check out the Cyber Security website.