The ongoing first nationwide competition in cyber security attracted not only students of technical fields, but also many gymnasium students. The first round of the competition was attended by 1,067 participants from 162 schools of various specialization from across the country. The only restriction was the age (15-18 years), in order that the most successful competitors be qualified for the European Cyber Security Challenge. Most students came from the Prague, South Moravia, Pardubice and Vysočina regions.
The evaluated data show that the biggest problem for competitors were general questions, particularly those related to legislation, as well as crypto-analytic tasks. In contrast, the students were most successful in solving sociology and psychology tasks. As for the question that posed the greatest difficulty for the students, you can try to answer it yourself: “After how long a password change should be performed in a significant information system?” The answer to this question can be found in the Decree on Cyber Security no. 317/2014 Coll., namely the provisions of §18. No student answered this question correctly. How would you deal with it? Let us know in the comments :-).
The test structure was another curiosity. It was possible to choose the option “Don’t know” and avoid gaining negative points. An overall analysis of the test sheets revealed that there were 3,608 incorrect answers, while the “Don’t know” option was used 1,258 times. For me personally, it means that there is a bad habit spreading among high school students, the one that I encounter very often among my peers as well as older generations. We often take the acknowledgment that we do not know something as something negative and instead of being thankful for the opportunity to learn something new, we prefer to pretend that we know everything. The opportunity to learn was actually the main purpose of the first educational round of this contest.
Official announcement of the results and awarding of the winners of the regional rounds will take place over the next two weeks. Concurrently, educational lectures will take place at the schools that have expressed their interest (that is most of the participating schools); a team of CZ.NIC, which is, together with the National Security team CSIRT.CZ, a partner of the competition, will visit three schools in the Pilsen Region.
The 676 successful contestants can look forward to the second elimination round of the competition, which will take place in March. It will consist of ten questions divided into several categories and will be held entirely in English. All participants can prepare themselves for this round thanks to online courses offered to them free of charge by the CISCO Academy and the study materials provided by AFCEA, AEC and CZ.NIC.
Thirty to sixty students from across the Czech Republic will proceed from the elimination round to the final one. We are looking forward to the young talents and hope for effective cooperation after they have joined the multidisciplinary field of cybersecurity.