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An evaluation of the qualifying stage of Guardians 2019

An evaluation of the qualifying stage of Guardians 2019

“Win the election and anything is possible” is the name of the third annual Guardians competition for young IT specialists. Before an upcoming head of state election, the competition will simulate attacks on a candidate’s staff, show how they can be defended against and demonstrate consequences of a failed defense against cyber criminals.

Those interested in participating in the final round could enter the qualifying stage between November 2018 and 4th February 2019.

The qualifying round was run as a CTF (Capture the Flag) competition. A total of 127 contestants registered, 45 of whom actively participated in the competition. The 13 tasks ranged in difficulty from beginner to somewhat advanced; the contestants could attempt tasks in various fields of cybersecurity, including reversing, steganography, forensic analysis and exploiting applications.

After the qualifying stage ended, a panel of IT experts from Binary Confidence and SK-CERT chose the ten best contestants to progress into the final round of Guardians 2019.

The contestants who make it through to the final round of Guardians, which will take place in March 2019, will form two defending teams. Their primary goal will be to defend against data leaks from electoral staff, and to prevent any discreditation of their candidate which would impact the election result. Every member of the team will have a specific role, but communication, interaction and collaboration within the team will be equally important. The attackers in this round will be security specialists from Binary Confidence and SK-CERT.

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