ERR News: Icelandic team wins battle of region’s young ethical hackers in Tartu

On Saturday, the Telia Cyber Battle of Nordic-Baltics, a competition to identify the region’s best young, ethical hackers, took place in Tartu. After an action-packed day, during which 31 teams of 15-24 year-olds were tasked with solving a range of different cyber challenges, “Cats,” from Iceland emerged as the winners.

Kätlin Koemets, head of CTF Tech, the competition’s main organizer, said that in addition to the exciting cyber battle taking place, it was also important that private and public sector cybersecurity leaders along with decision makers and policy makers had gathered in Tartu especially for the event.

“According to the European Commission, by the end of 2020, the annual cost of cybercrime to the global economy is estimated to be €5.5 trillion. The colossal damage that cybercrime causes to each and every one of us, disrupting vital services from power plants to hospitals, is what has to motivate us all to work together,” said Koemets.

“We definitely have to continue and extend the mission we have undertaken together, and inspire even more girls and boys even come out on the side of the good, or ethical, hackers. The growth of the Cyber Battle from being an internal Estonian competition to becoming major international cyber battle in just four years shows that we are moving in the right direction. However, we need to work together even more, and not just organize competitions. There is still a lot more to do,” she added.

Axel Marinho Gudmundsson, captain of winning team “Cats,” said teamwork was they key behind their victory. “Working in a team helps a lot because if I don’t know something, someone else might,” Gudmundsson said.

Second place went to Swedish team “Bumbodosan,” while Danish team “free(vacation)” finished third. The highest-placed Estonian team in this year’s competition were “URAL-4,” who ended in fourth.

One of the key focuses of the event was to increase the popularity of cyber security education among girls and young women. Therefore, a separate award was also presented to the best all-girls team, with Estonia’s “Mean Girls” taking the prize. Second spot went to “Flagbusters” from Italy, with another Estonian team “Hatifnatid” taking third place.

The Telia Cyber Battle of Nordic-Baltics 2023, now in its fourth year, is organized by Estonian cyber education startup CTF Tech and NATO-accredited Estonian cyber defense company CybExer Technologies. The competition is organized in cooperation with Telia, Tartu City Government, the University of Tartu and several private sector companies.

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Editor: Michael Cole
Photo: Telia Cyber Battle of the Baltics 2023. Source: Andrei Ozdoba