Cyber Security Competition 2015 - Capture the Flag


Thanks to the rapid advancement of network and communications technology over the past decade, we now have more smart devices connected to the internet than ever before. These devices transmit our personal information to servers hosted in the cloud, which in many cases are inaccessible to users. This data includes the history of our communications, medical and health records, financial transactions and other sensitive information that we want to protect.

Cyber security involves protecting business, government and individual data, shielding the systems that the information is residing on, and securing the connections through which data is transmitted from cyber criminals and other malicious actors.

The Cyber security ‘Capture the Flag’ competition is an opportunity for secondary school students to challenge themselves to solve real-world problems in cybersecurity, by hacking, identifying patterns and thinking outside the box.

The prizes for each winner?

  • An IBM scholarship of $8600 for living/course-related costs, plus a new laptop
  • A Unitec study scholarship of 3 years’ tuition fees to study a Bachelor of Computing Systems

There will also be prizes for runners up and highly commended participants.

Registration deadline:

  • Extended to: 9th September 2015

Competition dates and times:

  • Saturday 12th September

Competition Schedule

9:00am  -   Registration opens & morning tea
9:20am  -   Welcome and introduction
9:30am  -   Hinne: An introduction to cyber security
9:45am  -   Mostafa: competition debrief
10:00am  -   Questions & Answers; move to competition lab
10:15am  -   Competition Session 1 (2hrs)
12:15pm  -   LUNCH
12:45pm  -   Competition Session 2 (2hrs)
2:45pm  -   Afternoon tea break
3:00pm  -   Competition Session 3 (1.5hrs)
4:30pm  -   Campus/Cyber Security lab tour
5:00pm  -   Prize giving & pizza

Why we are running this competition

After establishing the first cyber security research centre in New Zealand in 2012, Unitec has since gone on to develop courses in cyber security at bachelors and masters degree level, as well as forging strong research partnerships with top research institutes overseas.

Through our school initiatives, Unitec is actively encouraging secondary school students to be aware of the opportunities available in cyber security, as there is currently a high demand for skilled graduate security engineers and network analysts.

The cybersecurity competition aims to expose students to some real life problems that they can expect to face in the IT security field, in a controlled, fun environment.

The challenges in the competition are oriented around the following themes:

  • General ‘think outside the box’ problems – Simple challenges that can be solved by using your creativity to uncover the flag
  • Ethical web hacking – Identifying weaknesses in web applications to reveal the flag
  • Network forensics – Assessing network packet capture files for anomalies and analysing log files to stitch the flag
  • Encoding and cryptography – Reverse engineer unfamiliar and scrambled text to unravel the flag


  • You must be a Year 11 - 13 student at high school
  • You must be comfortable using a Linux-based operating system such as Ubuntu
  • You are expected to have spent at least 15 hours preparing for the competition by reviewing the content in the ‘Before the competition’ and ‘Resources’ pages on this website

  • Teachers: professional development opportunity

    Unitec is also running the CS4HS@Unitec 2015 workshop in early November, which gives ICT teachers the opportunity to find out about the latest developments in computing. More information is available from the CS4HS@Unitec website.