A Cyber Challenge to remember

What a thrill, this year’s Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is unforgettable!

It all started in February, when four teams of excited students decided to dedicate the first half of the semester to our training for the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. Once per week, over eight weeks, the teams of students attended our workshop-like training sessions. Experts from different areas of Cyber Security and Policy joined our sessions to gift students their insightful experience, hoping for it to be of guidance in the upcoming competition. Students get to challenge them with interesting questions in a remarkable industry-academia exchange. The learning curve was steep, and it has been extremely rewarding to see how the training shaped their thinking. Policymaking is a fine art, a fragile balance between defending solid stands and compromising diplomatically. It was a marathon which culminated with the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge on April 4th.

This year, all four of our teams were selected to participate in the challenge.

  • Edelweiss

Members: Hain Luud, Janina Inauen, Marko Babovic and Alain Schmid.

Coaches: Thore Gobel, Vladislav Zubkov

  • ETHernalBlue

Members: Tapdig Maharramli, Jonas Schmid, Roger Megert, and Andina Nabilla

Coaches: Frederieke Lohmann, Andreas Felderer

  • Nebula

Members: Thierry Schaltegger, Yassmine Abdrabo, Marcel Burri, and Emile Janho Dit Hreich

Coaches: Doriela Grabocka, Stefanie Matter

  • CyBerg

Members: Nicola Stocco, Isha Gupta, Andrew Lee, and Noah Kim

Coaches: Pablo Wey, Matthias Franke

All of them prepared meticulously for the first phase, developing and selecting policies, polishing the decision documents and rehearsing their briefing presentation. In every phase of the competition, the teams had ten minutes to brief the judges (impersonating ENISA) on the incident scenario and the responding policy actions they recommended, followed by ten more minutes of Q&A during which the judges challenged the teams about their decisions.

The hours spent in preparation proved worthwhile. The teams nailed phase one, qualifying for the second phase: an intense night of hard work to respond to the simulated cyber crisis. Students are given one night to read the new documentation and develop an appropriate policy response. On the morning of April 5th, the teams (virtually) stood in front of the judges, ready to brief them on the policies developed in the early hours, that very night. Despite little to no sleep, the results were great, with plenty of positive feedback. Thanks to clear thinking and smooth communication skills, Edelweiss even won the Best Decision Document award!

Few minutes were given to celebrate before the announcement of the finalist. Only three teams were going to be selected. The level of the competitors made the choice extremely hard for the judges. Despite the fierce competition, team CyBerg was successfully selected, but this was just the beginning of the third and last phase.

Three teams, a cyber emergency, fifteen minutes to read the documents and to prepare the briefing. Nicola, Isha, Noah and Andrew were one deep breath away from the final stage of the competition. It was a rush filled with emotions and focus. The tension was high. Those minutes flew by before CyBerg jumped into the briefing room. Time flew by and it was done. All that was left to do was to wait for the results.

It felt like an infinity, but excitement had the better of our team when they discovered that they won the 2024 Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. It was an amazing moment! Team CyBerg students celebrated while the others congratulated to them on their victory, a pinnacle of sportsmanship by those who shared every training session with the winners.

We are proud of team CyBerg for the great achievement, as well as to team Edelweiss, Nebula and ETHernalBlue for their contribution to the training. A big thank you to all the experts that have shared their experience and wisdom with us during the training.

Finally, there’s one person who stood behind the entire training, supporting the teams, organizing the experts and topics over the sessions, and getting snacks for the hungry participants: Iyán. Directly from our board, he passionately led the task force by example through the Cyber 9/12 training. The success of all four teams are testimony of his great work. We are proud to have him on our board.

It is now time for the students to turn back to their semester. Meanwhile, we are glad to invite them to be part of ETH Cyber Group. If they loved the training as much as we did, we hope they consider joining the next board.

Congratulation to all four teams.
ETH Cyber Group