News Item

Cyber teams from across the globe to compete in 1st International Cybersecurity Challenge

In partnership with regional and international organisations, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) will host the first International Cybersecurity Challenge, a Cyber World Cup.

Published on February 08, 2022

Building on the success of the so-called Capture-the-flag competitions (CTFs)’’ ENISA, together with other regional and international organisations, decided to design and host for the first time the International Cybersecurity Challenge (ICC). With this first ever Cyber World Cup, which comprise a number of different cybersecurity challenges, we are entering a new dimension by moving up to a global scale with regional teams joining from all over the world.

In continuation to the successful organisation of the European Cybersecurity Challenge (ECSC) since 2015 onwards, the International Cybersecurity Challenge comes as the next step to the competition expanding it to an all embracing, multi-national level.

The Agency is delighted to announce that the International Cybersecurity Challenge will take place from 14 June until 17June 2022, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, situated in one of the largest green areas of Athens. The competition was initially announced to take place in December 2021. The ICC will be attended by up to nine international teams consisting of 15 national players between the ages of 18 to 26 years old from across the globe. The teams will test their strength in a series of challenging areas, such as web application and system exploitation, cryptography, reverse engineering, hardware challenges, forensic analysis and attack/defence.

The ICC brand will be associated with the top cybersecurity talents of the world and is expected to become one of the key incubators of cybersecurity entrepreneurship.

How does it work?

The first edition of the ICC will involve more than 4000 young talents and will bring together the regions of Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, with more than 64 countries being actively involved. Each geographical region will be represented by a team of young talents from counties situated in the respective geographical areas and will be in charge of selecting and training their team members through preliminary CTF challenges. The top 15 players in the preliminary CTFs will form the regional teams that will travel to Athens for the finals and the award ceremony.

During the first day of the competition, the regional teams will compete in Jeopardy type of CTF challenges, such as web application, cryptography, reverse engineering, hardware and forensics. During the second day, selected teams will compete on the attack/defence challenge.

Towards a transparent and fair competition, the organisation of ICC is monitored and ensured by a Steering Committee comprising of government and regional institutions, universities and research centres from around the globe. The purpose of the steering committee is to define the rules and challenges of the competition, form the teams that will compete and decide on the eligibility of the candidates.

Without the support and help of all partners involved in the Steering Committee, it would not have been possible to carry out such an extensive activity.

Why an International cybersecurity competition? ICC 2022

There is a lack of skills and knowledge required to protect our society against cyberattacks and to mitigate their potential threats to the market. Therefore, it is critical to educate and train the future generations that will enhance our society’s resilience and ensure a safe and secure cyberspace.

ICC is not just a competition, the ultimate aim is to assist in addressing the shortage of IT security professionals by attracting and bring together top cyber talent from all over the world. It further promotes friendly relations between attending regions, officials and players.

It is, therefore, meant to raise the overall network and information security awareness in the global community and to foster the education and skills needed by young talent in the area of cybersecurity. By pioneering in designing an international challenge, ICC aspires to instil the principle for a cyber-secure society at a global scale and to build trust in online services.

Stay tuned!

In February 2022, the EU Agency for Cybersecurity will publish its first International Strategy.

The final 15 players of Team EU and their backups will be announced in April 2022.

From 14 to 17 June 2022, experience the competition from the first row using #ICC on social media.

Please check the International Cybersecurity Challenge website for more information.

The upcoming 2022 European Cybersecurity Challenge is scheduled to take place in Vienna, Austria on 15 September 202

Related information

ENISA press release – Vice-President Schinas announces Team EU for the first Cyber World Cup

ENISA topic – European Cybersecurity Challenge (ECSC)

ECSC website - European Cybersecurity Challenge

ICC website - International Cybersecurity Challenge

ICC trailer video - 1st International Cybersecurity Challenge

ENISA report – ‘’Capture the flags competitions’’(CTFs)

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