Aspiring team among best hackers

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The CIA may soon be looking to Mount Aspiring College for prospective employees after the New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge at the University of Waikato this month.

A team of three from the school placed second in the secondary schools competition and in the top 20 for all entrants, which included university teams and cybersecurity professionals. There were 150 teams in the competition.

“We hacked”, team member Tristin Weastell said, explaining the aim of the competition. “We had 12 hack challenges.”

The University of Waikato had built 12 web sites for the competition and competitors worked to hack into the sites, he said.

The challenge included recovering deleted data from the sites.

The second challenge involved reviewing a company cybersecurity policy to look for weaknesses, he said.

“It was a real industry application.”

Team member Sean Dickey said the three had decided to become involved when they found out about the competition from their year 13 IT teacher. A preliminary round was held online before the competition, he said.

Giving the event an extra feeling of cloak and dagger was a job fair on site which included representatives of the Ministry of Defence, the Government Security Communications Bureau and Interpol.

All three team members intend to study engineering at University next year.