CHALLENGE STARTS IN
The Malta National Cyber Security Challenge has taken place online between Saturday, 18th June 2022 and Saturday, 9th July 2022. This yearly event was aimed at identifying and recognizing local talents aged between 16 and 25. The focus of such event is always to instil a culture of Information Security within youths, to educate, and ultimately, to have fun.
The competition was on an individual level, and contestants were challenged in solving 13 Jeopardy-style challenges. These varied in nature and difficulty and were hosted online through the Hacking-Lab platform. These challenges were all cybersecurity related tasks from domains such as web security, mobile security, crypto puzzles, reverse engineering, and forensics.
This Capture-The-Flag event catered for all levels of participants: from Information Security aspirants to Information Security professionals already working in the field. The experience and knowledge gained through such opportunity are significant… and yes, money prizes as well. This year’s National Cyber Security Challenge was won by Luke Bjorn Scerri, who came in first place and was awarded €500, in second place came Nathaniel Azzopardi Borg who was awarded €300, and Axel Curmi, also being last year’s winner, came in third place and was awarded €200.
Once rankings from the National Challenge were final, participants were shortlisted. The individuals selected were given the opportunity to attend online and onsite training by local and international cybersecurity professionals. Trainers selected for this year’s training bootcamp are actual competitors in high ranked international CTFs.
Eventually, there will be a final selection from these individuals for the 10 participants that will progress to represent Malta in the seventh edition of the European Cyber Security Challenge held in Vienna, this September. All training, flights, subsistence, and lodging costs will be sponsored by MITA.
Antoine Debono is an Information Security Specialist within the Information Security and Governance Department at MITA. In his role, Antoine is responsible for information security assessments, information security consultancy and advanced operations. For the past 7 years, Antoine has been involved in various operations including Incident Response activities, Digital Forensics Investigations, Malware Analysis, Red Team Exercises and Threat Intelligence Assignments amongst others.
Robert Muscat is an Information Security Specialist in the Cyber Defense & Advanced Operations section within MITA’s Security Department, where he mainly provides consultancy related to security matters on Government IT solutions. For the past 8 years, Robert worked in Digital & Network Forensics, Incident Response, Security Engineering and Public Key Infrastructures. Robert is a certified Web Application Penetration Tester and in 2020 was awarded the title of Microsoft’s Engineering Influencer in their detection and response solution.
Axel Curmi is a software engineer with a focus on web application security. He recently finished a Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Malta, where he studied the usage of hardware security modules and runtime verification to deploy a trustworthy implementation of the SSH protocol. He enjoys pushing himself to learn new skills and concepts, as well as contributing to research. When Axel is not working, he likes to go out for runs, play tabletop games, and watch Formula 1.
Daniel has an undergraduate degree in AI and is now reading for a PhD in Space Science and Astronomy. He has also been working in the blockchain industry for the past six years, with a specialisation in infrastructure. Cyber Security is of utmost importance to him, not only because of how critical it is in the blockchain space, but also because he has always been passionate about security.
Currently, Giorgio is studying for a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Malta. He is interested in speed-cubing, cryptography, esoteric music and most of all, mathematics! In his free time, he helps in running the Malta Mathematical Society, as well as noodling around on the guitar and bass.
Kirsty is a 19-year-old student reading for a degree in Computer Science at the University of Malta. She plays the flute, has a passion for hiking, and loves to travel and exploring different cultures. She is enthusiastic to learn, and embraces every challenge as an opportunity. Her exposure to the cybersecurity domain encouraged her to participate in the European Cyber Security Challenge.
Luke is a fresh graduate in Computing Science with interests in cryptography and capture the flag competitions. This year it will be his second time participating in the European Cyber Security Challenge. He is temporarily working for a Swiss company as a reverse engineer of proprietary file formats, and afterwards, he will return to working in the blockchain sector for a Maltese company. He hopes that all the training and experience gained in competitions since last year, will allow him to do his utmost in ECSC 2022 and other future competitions.
Luke Collins is a Maltese mathematician reading for a PhD at University College London, interested in combinatorics and number theory. In his spare time, he likes to play classical music on the piano, practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and of course, take part in cybersecurity CTFs.
Matthew James Scerri is 16 years old and will be starting post-secondary education in the next scholastic year. He will be furthering his studies around Computer Science and Mathematics. He has been tinkering with computers and electronics from a young age and has continued to develop these skills throughout the years. Matthew is interested in all things technological with his focus being electronics debugging, microcontrollers and embedded systems, hardware hacking, programming and cybersecurity.
Melvin Delia works as a Security Operations Analyst within MITA’s Security Operations Centre, and is a participant of the 2021 National, European and International Cyber Security Challenges. He started out as a Software Developer and became an Analyst after being introduced to the world and importance of cybersecurity. His goal is to continue developing his knowledge in both software development and cybersecurity with the hopes that new youths from Malta become interested in both fields and he will be able to pass on his knowledge to them.
Michael is a 2nd year Computer Science student at the University of Malta interested in cybersecurity, computer graphics, parallelization, machine learning, operating system development and game engine development.
Nathaniel has just graduated a Bachelor’s degree in Software Development. His research focused on an automated prototype to detect security weaknesses and copied code in software being developed from a white box perspective. He currently works as a full-time Software Engineer where he contributes to creating software needed for clients. Apart from developing software his interests also include gaming and cybersecurity related topics.
MALTA IN THE ECSC
The European Cyber Security Challenge is an initiative by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and supported by the European Commission.
Last year, Malta participated in the ECSC for the first time, after 3 years of attending as observers. The Malta Team managed to make a name for itself through its persistent and competitive performance in Prague, Czech Republic.
For this year’s competition, the team that would have undergone intensive training is encouraged to exceed last year’s impeccable performance in the hopes to maintain our positive reputation.
The ECSC has always been the perfect opportunity to meet Europe’s best cyber security talent. This allowed participants to collaborate and network with domain experts, to grow and learn by solving complex challenges, as well as to have fun and compete in cybersecurity.
OUR JOURNEY TO THE ECSC
18th June - 9th July
National Challenge 2022
11th - 15th July
Shortlisting participants for training
21st - 24th July
4th - 7th August
Announcement of the 10 individuals that will make up the Malta ECSC2022 team
11th - 12th August
Online Evening Training Sessions
16th - 17th August
Online Evening Training Sessions
29th August - 2nd September
Online Evening Training Sessions
Team Building Event
13th - 17th September
ECSC in Vienna