DiSH Capture the Flag Event: A Successful Cybersecurity Challenge

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Jonah Conley, Andrea Sante and Chris Rowe.

On 22 February 2023, the Greater Manchester Digital Security Hub (DiSH) in partnership with Elastic hosted a Capture the Flag (CTF) event  at its office in the heart of Manchester. The DiSH is a new innovative and collaborative ecosystem offering dedicated growth programmes to startups and growing digital security businesses with access to mentors and coaching. The consortium of partners, led by Barclays Eagle Labs and including Lancaster University, Plexal and The University of Manchester, are providing a range of cyber and digital educational initiatives from the site.

The aim of the Capture the Flag CyberSecurity Challenge event was to test the participants' cybersecurity knowledge and skills.

About 80 people attended, mostly from universities and companies from across the North of England. Among the participants was the 'Liverpool CDT' team, represented by LIV.INNO students Andrea Sante and Jonah Conley, LJMU PhD student Chris Rowe.

The event started with a presentation about Elastic, followed by a short introduction to Kibana, the software used for the CTF. The challenges comprised 27 tasks, with each task completed giving 10 points to the team. The challenges related to a typical workday of a security analyst at Elastic. The participants used Kibana to find information about their clients and security alerts happening in their business. All the challenges were quick to complete on Kibana, and no coding or back-end work was required.

The day ended with a short award ceremony where the organisers announced the winning team of analysts from Barclays and thanked everyone for participating.

The participants thought the challenges were well designed and allowed the teams to work together to achieve their goals. The organisers were pleased with the turnout and the enthusiasm of the participants. Overall, the event was a great success, and it gave the participants an insight into what a cybersecurity analyst does and how Kibana can be used.