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School students stopped a large-scale cyber attack in Tartu

The Cyber Battle of Tartu press release

The Cyber Battle of Tartu Foto: Gabriela Urm

4 November / The Cyber Battle of Tartu, one of the largest cyber security competitions for schoolchildren and students in Estonia, declared a team that will represent Estonia in the international cyber security competition Cyber Battle of the Emirates on November 18th. The first place was won by the team "3 on kohtuseadus", which includes students from Tartu Jaan Poska Gymnasium, Tartu Tamme Gymnasium and Põltsamaa Secondary School.

Karl-Erik Taukar, one of the organizers of the Cyber Battle of Tartu, points out that we are increasingly connected to information technology in our daily lives. „We order Christmas gifts from international online stores, hold video conferences in home offices and keep important information on a laptop or mobile phone. To ensure security and privacy, effective cyber security is one of the most important aspects of the information society,“ he says.

Taukar adds that while cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to harass people, dangers of cybercriminals are often taken lightly. „A bank account sent from an unknown e-mail address will probably no longer be used to transfer a large inheritance, but viruses that spread in Facebook Messenger, for example, are still commonly occurring. Cyber security professionals are literally heroes whose role in the digital world is becoming increasingly important. Cyber Battle of Tartu provided an opportunity to introduce Estonian youth to the field of cyber security in more detail and to show that it is greatly exciting,“ says Taukar.

According to Andrus Kivisaar, Chairman of the Board of the Estonian cyber security company CybExer Technologies, the aim of the event was to increase young people's interest in the field of cyber security. He notes that the desire of the students to take part in the event was very high and difficult tasks had to be solved in the preliminary rounds in order to find out the winners of the final competition. „To execute the tasks successfully, it required knowledge of cryptography, cyber-attacks and digital forensics. I was amazed at how many young participants were able to perform these tasks. It is amazing how much knowledge the 10th grade students already have,“ says Kivisaar. He points out that in the final competition, in order to showcase their skills, participants had to find vulnerabilities in the school's information system, stop the attack on the hospital's vital systems and prevent a cyber attack aimed at opening the museum's treasury.

Kivisaar points out that the goal of CybExer Technologies is to support the development and training of Estonian youth interested in the field of cyber security. „We want Estonia to continue being an innovative society, which will be set as an example all over the world. One of the prerequisites for this is a high level of cyber security. We hope that the Cyber Battle of Tartu created additional motivation for many young people, who will soon become the shapers of the success story of the Estonian digital society,“ says Kivisaar. According to him, it is important to contribute to the creation of a development friendly environment so that a new generation of bright heads can evolve in Estonia, who see their future in the field of information technology and cyber security.

One of the partners of the event was Tartu City Government. According to the Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas, Tartu City Government puts great emphasis on crisis preparedness and therefore co-operation was established in conducting the Cyber Battle of Tartu. „Cybercrime is taking on larger dimensions both in Estonia and elsewhere, so it is very important for Tartu to support the training of a new generation of cyber specialists. All the more so, as the specialty of computer sciences at the University of Tartu positions at the top tier internationally, being among the 200 best in the world. We hope to see future cyber security specialists working later in Tartu, because there are many opportunities to apply their skills here,“ says Klaas.

The Gallery of the competition is accessible. Photos by Gabriela Urm.

Last changed 04.11.2020