About 2 weeks ago, we found out that two of our three CADS teams had gotten through to the finals of CyberCenturion held in North East London from Tuesday 25th Feb to Wednesday 26th Feb.
Naturally, all of us were really excited to get through to the finals and each team had a final training session on one of the days leading up to the competition in order to go over strategies and other preparation. 3SDL also very nicely ordered us some nice polo shirts to wear for the competition along with some other cool swag like water bottles, power banks, notebooks and pens.
After school on Tuesday, we began our journey up to London. We were taking one of the school minibuses with our computing teacher and Cam. There was some pretty intense traffic on the way, and it ended up taking us almost 2 hours to get onto the motorway because of the flooding around Worcester. Luckily, after we had got on the motorway, we didn’t run into much more traffic until we got into London.
At around 6pm, we stopped off at the Oxford services to get some dinner, have a quick stretch and toilet stop. We were eager to get back on the road though, so we didn’t stick around for long.
Finally, we arrived at our hotel at just after 8pm, we went to the hotel’s reception and checked ourselves in, dropped off our stuff and then went for a little explore around the closed shopping centre next to our hotel to get some McDonalds and Sainsburys to get some supplies. We went back to our rooms just after 10pm so that we could get our beauty sleep for the next day.
At 7am, we woke up, got ready and then met outside the restaurant in our CADS polo shirts ready to fuel up for the busy day ahead. Some of the other teams were also having breakfast and we got a little look at our competition.
After breakfast, we went back to our rooms, packed up our things and then met downstairs in reception, checked out and then waited for the bus which was going to take us to the venue where the competition would be taking place.
We arrived at Plexal and dropped off our bags in the cloakroom. We also had to leave our phones and other electronics as they weren’t allowed in the competition area. It was a cool venue and was bustling with small businesses and co-working spaces.
Shortly after, we had a welcome talk from people from Cyber Security Challenge UK and various companies who were sponsoring the day. Then we were ready to start the competition. Unlike the previous rounds, this round was only four hours long instead of six. It started off with Windows Server, Windows 10 and Ubuntu virtual machines like in the previous rounds and after two hours they added in an additional Debian virtual machine which we hadn’t seen in the previous rounds.
The scoreboard was anonymous the whole way through, so we didn’t know our position compared to the other teams without adding all our scores together and checking, so it didn’t happen very often.
Two hours into the competition, we had a small break, a talk from some companies about machine learning and another about 3D printing and fab labs.
We then had lunch and got back to competition. It had been just after the two-hour mark and they had opened the Debian virtual machine. On the Debian virtual machine, we managed to get points quickly as we copied lots of the work that we had done on the Ubuntu virtual machine earlier on in the competition. This helped us to move up a couple of places on the scoreboard as many of the other teams hadn’t noticed that it had been secretly introduced.
The remaining two hours went past quickly, and it got frantic in the last 5 minutes as we were trying to scrape together some more points before the competition finished. At the end we didn’t know where we had placed.
We then had another talk from a company and then it was the awards ceremony. They first went through the junior teams in reverse order and then the senior teams. Our first team came third place out of the senior teams, and we got bronze medals, then the two other teams were called out who got silver and gold medals respectively and the grand prize was an all-expenses paid trip to the US. Our second CADS team came 8th which is still a great achievement as there was 15 teams in the finals.