Computer whizzes from around the country are gathering at the University of Waikato as part of the New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge which kicks off today.
Organised by the University’s CROW lab, the annual event sees teams and individuals from around the country compete in a series of tasks, from hacking devices to solving security puzzles and defending servers.
The event also includes an Industry Job Fair where students meet top companies and government agencies from the industry, hear presentations from expert speakers and receive training sessions on cyber security technologies.
Waikato University’s Dr Vimal Kumar, lecturer in computer science and head of CROW, says the Cyber Security Challenge is an important platform for making people aware of online threats.
“The purpose of the challenge is to inform, educate and help young people become aware of the cyber security risks and to help create a cyber-ready generation in New Zealand.”
Dr. Kumar says the theme for this year’s challenge is The Internet of Things, which aims to recognise the growth of smart devices and raise awareness of the threats associated with them.
“Hacking is perceived as a malicious act and rightly so, but in order to better protect users we need to understand how those malicious people work and that’s part of what we’re trying to achieve with the Cyber Security Challenge. It’s about creating awareness around these issues and understanding them so we can be better prepared.”
The New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge is in its sixth year, and has grown from 70 participants in 2014 to nearly 400 registrants in 2019. The challenge kick-starts tonight at the University’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, and will continue with rounds one to three tomorrow in R Block on campus.
The grand winner of the event will receive a $2000 cash prize, and winners of round one and two will receive a cash prize of $1000.