Thomas, Espen and Francois managed to solve all the security challenges, making them one of the top teams among 162 international teams.

“Capture the flag” competition was a fantastic learning experience. Not only did I get to work on interesting challenges, but I also got to know how to work with tough intelligence challenges / problems as a group, and how important it is to put your mind together when stuck with a problem, says Espen Ringstad (28), a student at digital forensics at Noroff.

Together with student Thomas Thaulow and first lecturer in cyber security at Noroff, Francois Mouton, he recently participated in an Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Capture the subject (CTF) competition organized by an Australian organization digitally.

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The students performed incredibly well

A CTF competition is a competition that challenges participants to solve security problems and / or defend computer systems. For each challenge a team completes, they are rewarded with a specific number of points.

The event had 162 teams, consisting of up to five members, who participated from around the world. After eight hours and 39 minutes, the Noroff-team managed to solve all the challenges, ensuring the team a solid fourth place.

The students performed incredibly well, says Francois.

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Solid opponents

It was my first CTF competition. I find myself quite stable on information gathering, but this is my first time using it in a competitive or cyber-related way. I was nervous about going down as I was the only one on the team with no experience, says Thomas.

He continues:

As I went through the teams that competed, I was quite shocked to see names as Def Con speakers, and teams that had a good ranking in the CTFs of Def Con (one of the world's largest hacker conventions), Facebook, Google, and many more.

One of the team’s names itself as "the UK's top competitive cyber security team".

When we started, I felt it was really a team effort, and we all worked together in a really good way to make sure that most of the flags were taken, which gave us the solid position, Espen smiles.

Real-world experience

The reason for attending such an event is to provide students with real-world experience. It was voluntary to register for the students. It was very impressive for Espen and Thomas to set up, as both have just completed their first year of study, says Francois.

We quickly managed to secure some extra points by being the first team to solve a set of challenges. This gave us a clear position in the competition and they quickly became one of the top teams.

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