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The Inter-Services Cyber Network Defence Challenge

When representatives from the MoD met to take part in an Inter-Services Cyber Network Defence Challenge, it was not only their cyber security technical skills that got put through their paces. The need for precise communications, rapid decision making and above all, teamwork was paramount for the winning team to be crowned the Cyber Defender Capture The Flag Champions.

Hands on challenges designed to test the best

The 2017 Inter-Services Cyber Network Defence Challenge (ISCNDC) was organised by Joint Forces Command and pitted four teams – Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Civil Service – against each other to compete for the coveted ISCNDC Challenge Champion award in QA Cyber Labs in London. 

With challenges that test both individual technical ability and team working of experienced cyber professionals, the Capture The Flag based event is designed to test and teach those who attend to detect and deter cyber-attacks. Held in an immersive but safe environment the teams face each other in a series of purposeful challenges that are time sensitive and technically challenging.

Working against the clock the teams work together to solve cyber security challenges and, as they deploy the right solutions to solve them and ‘capture the flag’, the winning teams accumulate points. With constant guidance from QA’s expert cyber instructors the teams are supported to ensure their learning is maximised.

Four days of Cyber Security Challenges

Run over four days in QA’s unique Cyber Lab in London, the teams experience a range of carefully constructed Cyber challenges to test their cyber security skills and leadership.

With the challenges scored, this event fuses hands on immersive learning with the added incentive of competition to give the attendees a truly unique learning experience.

Day 1 - Four rounds of technical challenges featuring defensive skills, malware detection and prevention, penetration testing and Incident response – where teams are challenged on how best to assess and identify points of compromise and weakness.

Day 2 – Whether it’s testing their knowledge through the suite of tools in the Kali Linux environment, performing encoding, decoding, encryption and decryption to solve cryptographic puzzles, performing post breach clean ups or identifying and securing vulnerabilities, the teams individual and collective skills are tested to the max.

Day 3 – Focusing on ‘threat hunting’ Day 3 puts the Inter-Service participants up against each other and the clock. The tiered threat hunting challenges test even the most experienced cyber defenders by using advanced labs that offer a complex labyrinth of systems within which the teams must work to find the flags and earn the points.

Day 4 – The final day culminates with teams being subject to an intensive series of real-time attacks that they must dynamically respond to and defend against. Day 4 is arguably the most hotly contested day (there’s lots of points at stake) with rewards scored by teams when they identify and secure vulnerabilities, but also the reality that every second of system downtime costs the team ‘money’.

 During the multiple time sensitive tasks we had to employ clear communications and engage the versatile skills of our team to meet the demands of the scenario. The event provided a clear opportunity to develop my technical skills alongside my leadership skills.

“This was an amazing opportunity to represent my team and understand my own skills, leadership and personal capability for Cyber…