cyber security, sectf, Noroff, it, security

The 33-year-old recently represented Noroff in international competition, and secured the first prize and $ 3,000. - It was completely surreal, she says.

- It was completely surreal when they announced that I won first place. For me, it was very big. The cash prize that went along with it was just a bonus. Winning the competition has given me more confidence in the field and a desire to continue to develop my skills in social engineering, says Ragnhild Sageng (33).

Living in Drammen, Norway, Ragnhild works in the IT industry, is studying Bachelor in Cyber Security at Noroff Online Studies, and is a mother of three.

- Good practice to build self-confidence

Two weeks ago, the 33-year-old threw herself into something she has never tried before when she participated in the international competition Collegiate Social Engineering Capture-the-Flag (SECTF), which was arranged digitally.

– I chose to participate because social engineering (the art or science of exploiting human psychology, rather than hacking techniques, to gain access to buildings, systems or data) has always interested me. In addition to IT, I have always been interested in psychology and how our personalities make us receptive to different impressions.

There was a short deadline to submit a motivation letter to be selected for the competition. Ragnhild wrote one by herself. The judges received over 20 letters from teams that wanted to join and they selected six teams based on this.

The 33-year-old was selected as one team, against five other teams of up to six people. Prior to the competition, Francois Mouton, associate professor in Cyber Security at Noroff, had supervised her so that she would be well prepared.

– Participating by myself was a bit lonely, as I was not permitted to bring my advisor in the competition. Having someone else on the team and get the synergy effect would have been great. At the same time, it is often the case that similar work in penetration testing is often done alone, so this was a good exercise to build independence when it comes to solving similar tasks.

Social engineering attack

Collegiate Social Engineering Capture-the-Flag (SECTF) is a competition and training event that makes it possible for students to compete in social engineering.

– Francois taught me that social engineering in IT is the science of using social interactions to persuade an individual or organization to accept a specific request from an attacker where either the social interaction, persuasion or request involves a technological entity.

She continues:

– Knowing what techniques are being used by scammers and how to find their targets is important knowledge to have to prevent social engineering attacks.

An example of social engineering attacks is phising, where someone receives e-mails with convincing information to provide information or click on links.

Practical skills

–Studying cyber security is very interesting. I am glad that the tasks are practically oriented and relevant to the actual tasks we can get in a work environment. I feel it prepares us for practical work after graduation, at the same time as it gives us a good professional theoretical weight, says the 33-year-old.

The expertise and skills students acquire through the Bachelor in Cyber Security is highly sought after.

– I already work full time in IT alongside my studies, and have done this for 13 years, but I hope to be able to work more with IT security after I have completed my bachelor's degree. Exactly which area of IT security I want to see as I get closer to the end of my studies, she smiles.


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