The University of New South Wales has dominated the federal government's Cyber Security Challenge for the third year in a row, with its teams beating out a record number of students to be awarded the top four places in the competition.
The ‘capture the flag’ competition, which kicked off on September 30 last year and ran for 24 hours, attracted a record 261 students and 59 teams representing 23 higher education institutions across Australia.
The annual event is run by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, with the help of the Australian Signals Directorate and sponsors like Telstra, CBA, PwC, HackLabs and Facebook.
In the main competition, teams were required to solve cybersecurity puzzles to capture a 'flag', with each flag worth a set number of points. The team with the most points was declared the winner.
Coming in first place, with 2499 points, was the University of New South Wales team of Niel van der Westhuizen, George Caley, Adam Chyb and Genevieve Anne Carter.
The runners-up on 2181 points were Alyssa Besseling, Donny Yang, Oliver Tan and Glen Carmichael; while the team of Daniel Phillips, Nicholas Laver, Nicholas Whyte and Sean Yeoh came third with a score of 2070.
The highest-ranked team not from UNSW came from Monash University, which claimed fifth spot on 1647 points.
Each of the top three teams picked up four flights to Ruxcon and Kiwicon, with the winning team also picking up tickets to Defcon 2016, four Samsung Gear VR with Oculus headsets and four Samsung Galaxy S6 phones.
Aside from the main competition, prizes were also awarded for the team with the best written explanations of the steps they took to capture a flag, the team that performed best in forensics, and the first to finish a penetration testing challenge.
The Australian Defence Force Academy were judged the best communicators, with Edith Cowan University coming first in forensics and a fourth team from UNSW the first to complete the penetration testing.
The competition was open to full-time Australian university undergraduates and undergraduate-equivalent TAFE students..
The challenges required students to be familiar with a number of tools including Kali Linux 1.1, Metasploit, SQL map, Wireshark, Dubugger, Burp Suite, Volatility and OpenVPN.
In a statement, Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the event formed part of the federal government’s campaign to encourage students into STEM careers.
“With the number of advertised cyber security roles rising by more than 60 percent across 2015, there is a demand for experts in this space,” Birmingham said.