MIT And Cambridge Battle It Out In A Hacking Contest

hacking-1685092_1920Two Titans Take It Out On Each Other

Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge – the meccas in the world of computer science, will face each other in a hacking contest. The students from both the universities will try to hack into each other’s computers as a part of the competition between Britain and the United States of America to promote the importance of cybersecurity.


The contest has been approved by the both David Cameron and Barack Obama and the White House has tagged it as a faceoff between the who’s who in the world of computer science.

The six teams that are participating in the competition will gather at MIT for a time period of 24 hours and try their best to hack into each other’s computers and successfully steal some files. The competition which is a first in the series of similar upcoming events will have cash awards worth 20,000 US dollars

Howard Shrobe, a principal researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said – “This isn’t us versus them. It’s the best of both schools working together.” Frank Stajano the leader of the Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research at the University of Cambridge said that it was essential for both the schools to work together to tackle this ever-growing menace.

Collaborations Across The Pond

Last year, Obama and Cameron had both decided that greater collaboration was needed between the two nations to tackle the issue of cybersecurity immediately after America had accused North Korea of hacking into the computers of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

But, cyber security professionals, are of the view that the shortage of skilled workers is what threatens the computer science industry. And despite such major hacks, this shortage is something that is mostly overlooked.

Major attacks like the Sony hack have emphasised what experts say is a shortage of cybersecurity experts. An industry group published last year that 86 percent of its members think there is a shortage of skilled workers. The contest at MIT aims to spark interest in the field and to promote cooperation among academics.

The event is styled after “capture-the-flag” competitions, where the teams are encouraged to use all the means possible to hack successfully into each other’s computers. The main purpose is to replicate an actual cyber-attack and thus find spontaneous ways of tackling the problem.

Both the schools have trained their respective pupils to hone their hacking skills; while the University Of Cambridge has already planned to include this kind of training as a part of the students’ curriculum.

Renee Biana

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