Students from the University of Worcester learning about cyber security recently turned their hand to 'hacking' at a special event.

The Worcester Hackathon aimed to provide the students with extra skills and a fresh perspective by challenging them to 'hack' into a fake web application in a simulated environment.

As part of the exercise, cyber security and computing students worked in teams.

Instead of defending a network or application, their task was to exploit it, mimicking the actions of a cyber attacker.

The event provided them the opportunity to understand the vulnerabilities a hacker might exploit in an insecure system.

Head of the university’s department of computing, Richard Wilkinson said: "These students are learning on their course about defending against attackers and about how to create things that are secure by design.

"The way to learn how to make things secure by design in the first place is to learn what hackers will use or exploit as vulnerabilities that make things insecure and learn how to create things without those vulnerabilities.

"That’s the best way to defend against a cyber security event."

Worcester News: The Worcester Hackathon aimed to provide the students with extra skills and a fresh perspective

The Worcester Hackathon was coordinated in partnership with the British Computer Society (BCS) and Malvern-based cyber security firm IASME.

To make the simulation more real, experts from Tewkesbury-based cyber security company, Cyberis, shadowed the students throughout the event.

Jess Burden, a cyber security engineer at IASME said: "I think to get a taste of the industry the best way to do it is attacking because you cover a lot of ground very quickly.

"We wouldn’t be able to have a Hackathon without the Cyber Lab.

"It allows us to have no boundaries to what they can explore, what attacks they can do.

"Events like this gives them [students] information about what roles they want to try in cyber security."

Worcester News:

During the Hackathon, the teams competed to earn the most 'flags', an industry term for a successful attack, with a winning team taking home a £100 prize.

The event organisers intend to extend the invitation to other universities and local colleges in future years.

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