From June 23-25 Stockholm hosted the Final Round of Kaspersky Lab’s “CyberSecurity for the Next Generation” student conference. The were 12 student finalists from 8 different countries who had won their way through the regional rounds. Over the course of these few days, the students faced 5 challenges: three individual challenges – the “Elevator Pitch”, “Future News Video Report” and “Poster” – and two teams event, “Cyber Quiz” and “Computer Security Competition”, called “Operation Double –Cross”.
The aim of this international event is to nurture young people´s interest in Cyber Security, an area which is set to become more and more important as our reliance on technology increases.
After a Welcome Speech by Natalya Obelets, Deputy Head of Education Initiatives at Kaspersky Lab; Marie Alveras Loven, Head of CERT-SE Swedish Contingencies Agency, gave a presentation about the way her organization reacts in the face of security problems, informing us that in 2013 we saw a 62% rise in the number of breaches compared to 2012. (Did you know that you can go online and buy a DDoS-attack from $2/hour or $150 a week?).
David Jacoby, Senior Researcher of Kaspersky Lab, used his Social Engineering Experiment to put us in the picture about the ease with which a public institution can be hacked. He emphasized that instead of worrying about future threats, businesses should address the more basic security requirements which may cause them problems right now.
After the talks were over, it was down to the students to take the stage for the “Elevator Pitch” challenge. Each student was given a time limit of 3 minutes plus a 2 minute question time to convince the audience of their project. The winner of this challenge was an Italian student Maurizio Abbà, who impressed the program committee with a presentation of his paper about Honeypots.
Next on the agenda was a presentation given by Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Vulnerability Research Group Manager, who talked about Exploits. As part of the talk, he showed an impressive graph highlighting the vulnerabilities detected in the Java Platform. (Remember to update to the latest version!)
For the second student challenge, the finalists were required to put together a video report detailing Cyber Security news that we would be likely to come up against in the year 2020. Thanks to his original approach to the challenge, the winner of this challenge was David Korczynski from Royal Holloway University of London.
Challenge number 3 called for the students to represent their project in poster format, using a combination of text, photos and graphics in order to communicate their research findings. Artem Shumilov, from Bauman Moscow State Technical University, achieved first place with his project on how to improve Captcha through Gesture Technology.
The last day of the conference brought four more interesting presentations. Stefan B. Grinneby offered advice about finding that all-important first job in security, Maria Garnaeva, Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, talked about BlackEnergy2, and Beverly Magda, professor at Georgetown University, reminded us of a topic which often seems to be sidelined in the world of cyber security: ethics. Finally, Daniel W K Tse, professor at the City University of Hong Kong, talked about the need for companies to have clearly defined policies regarding their use of social media.
The atmosphere of the Hilton Auditorium was transformed by the “Cyber Quiz”, one of the final student team challenges, hosted by Dr. Stefano Ortolani, Education Initiatives Manager at Kaspersky Lab. The excitement was infectious, and after a spirited competition, Team 2, made up of Sergey Shpak (National Research Nuclear University MePhl, Rusia), Armando Miraglia (Vrije Universieit Amsterdam) and Wenjuan Li (City University of Hong Kong), emerged victorious.
In addition to the bust working schedule of the competition days, there was also time for some fun: we learnt how to make ice sculptures, visited the Vasa Museum, the historic old town of Stockholm, the City Hall…and best of all, we attended a fantastic Gala Dinner where the students were presented with their prizes.
Our sincerest thanks and congratulations to all the students who participated in the event, and of course to the professors and speakers involved.
Kaspersky Lab press release