This “zero to hero” event aims to start a series of similar events beyond 2020.
The introduction of this event is of utmost importance towards improving the cybersecurity capabilities of the Republic of Serbia, as well as in the process of answering the existing lack of skilled cybersecurity professionals. The size of that missing workforce is estimated to be 290,000 in Europe.
The strategic goals of the 1st Serbian Cybersecurity Challenge 2020 are:
- the promotion of cybersecurity and
- identification, inclusion, education and retention of young talents with the ultimate goal of lowering the cybersecurity workforce shortage in Serbia, in the government, non-government and private sectors.
The operational goals of SCC 2020 are the inclusion of at least 50 talented Bachelor and Master-level students in the training and competition parts of the event.
This number (i.e. 50) is estimated to be the minimum number of necessary new experts entering the cybersecurity workforce in the Republic of Serbia in the following sectors: private, government, non-government (NGO) and academic/research.
The specific operational goals of SCC 2020 are the following:
- Stimulate interest for the fields of cybersecurity and computer science in general;
- Identification of young talents and their training towards capacity building in the field of cybersecurity in Serbia;
- Delivering an awareness-raising campaign towards students and other relevant audiences about the current workforce shortage in the field of cybersecurity and the importance of education and introduction of novel courses and training programs in the very competitive cyber security field;
- Connecting young talents with potential employers.
Participation in the SCC 2020 program is free for students. The organization of training and cyber challenges (i.e. hackathons) will be supported by sponsors from the private and government sectors, as well as through the “Information Security Services Education in Serbia (ISSES)” Erasmus+ project.
The SCC 2020 consists of two phases.
Phase I of the competition was executed in the December 2019 – March 2020 period at the following Serbian higher education institutions:
- Two faculties of the University of Belgrade, namely the School of Electrical Engineering (Elektrotehnički Fakultet – ETF) and Faculty of Organization Sciences (Fakultet Organizacionih Nauka – FON);
- University of Niš;
- University of Kragujevac;
- Subotica Tech – College of Applied Sciences;
- University of Novi Sad.
Important facts about Phase I:
- Implemented on the Avatao cloud-based platform for cybersecurity education and hackathons during the March 28-29th, 2020 weekend.
- 80+ students applied to participate from multiple Serbian HEIs.
- 40+ students participated actively.
- 28 students (i.e. seven 4-member teams) were selected for Phase II.
Important facts about Phase II of the SCC 2020 competition:
- Held on October 22nd, 2020.
- Implemented on the cloud-based CYBER RANGES platform by Silensec with support for remote safe-mode participation (i.e. it is not necessary to travel to Belgrade to take part and use this cyber range).
- Topics: web, crypto, binary exploitation, obfuscation and industrial control systems.
- Seven 4-member teams from Serbian HEIs competing against each other.
- In addition to the teams representing the Serbian HEIs, multiple guest teams from North Macedonia, Croatia and other West Balkans countries were invited to take part in Phase II.