Ten of Australia’s federal government departments have gone head-to-head in the inaugural Cyber War Games – Operation First Wave 2017.
The team from the Department of Human Services was eventually crowned champions, after a week of friendly (but competitive) online warfare in Canberra.
Also competing were teams from the Department of Immigration and Border protection, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Crime Intelligence Commission, Australian Federal Police, the Department of Health, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, CERT and the Department of Health.
The aim of the competition was to test the cyber capabilities of each government agency.
Teams were all given a virtual patch of land, with a wired Lego infrastructure display placed upon it.
Each team then had two match-ups throughout the week -- one as a cyber attacker, and one testing its defensive capabilities.
If the hacking team was successful, they would turn the enemy lights on and off, to announce their digital presence.
Alongside technical ability, teams were also judged on their creativity, planning and communication skills.
Although the tournament put rival departments against one another, it was coined as an initiative to increase Australia’s cyber resilience.
Through increasing understanding on how cyber criminals operate and highlighting any potential weaknesses, agencies can better prepare themselves for serious cyber threats.
Local high schools, St Edmund’s College Canberra and St Clare’s College Canberra, also paid visit to the event to learn more about the rapidly-growing industry that is cybersecurity.
The competition was an Australian first, but follows a NATO-organised event in April this year, when 25 countries competed in a global event, with the Czech Republic finishing first.
A host of senior cybersecurity professionals were present to adjudicate proceedings at the event throughout the week.
These included Head of Office of the Prime Minister's Cyber Security Special Adviser, Sandra Ragg, and ACS’s recently appointed Director of Cyber Resilience Initiatives, Jill Slay.
The event is expected to take place again next year, with plans to extend competition into the private sector.