Published on: 7 November 2019

A group of Christ Church boys competed in the inaugural PeCan CTF competition during the October holidays, a joint venture between the Australian Signals Directorate and Edith Cowan University.

As a team of four, students Alex Brown, Harry Ickeringill, Jake Palandri and Max Godfrey competed against other school teams from across the nation in a Perth vs Canberra format, taking out 1st place in the competition.

Their first day involved training where participants learnt about cyber security vulnerabilities and different exploits that can be used to compromise computer systems.

Day two saw the boys compete in a ‘Capture the Flag’ competition to put their new skills to the test. In this competition, participants are given a number of problems to solve that involve exploiting various weaknesses in a computer system to find a secret code. These activities range from finding information hidden within an image to finding weaknesses in a website that allow people to log into the targeted network.

“Every Capture the Flag contest has incredibly different problems; and there is no explicit contest format for which one can prepare. In advance, we all solved some challenges from various other past CTF contests,” commented Year 10 team member, Max Godfrey.

“I learned a lot about steganography in the computational sense; and was taught not only how to detect steganographic data, but how to steganographise something myself.”

“Competing in PeCan CTF was a great deal of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed working with my team, learning much throughout the process. I appreciate the Computer Science Department and the opportunities they provide us with.”