Highlights/ Achievements

Top Two Placing in Hacking Competition at National Level

The First Runner-up winners (from left to right): Cheong Khe Yang, Wang Teng Zheng, Tan Hoe Zhun and Ong Sheng He, together with Mr Sundara Raj (rightmost), Chief Digital Officer of PwC Malaysia and Vietnam and Mr Clarence Chan (second from right), Digital Trust and Cybersecurity Partner, PwC Malaysia.


TAR UMT students proved their mettle once again as they clinched the First Runner-up prize in the PwC Hack A Day 2023 Capture The Flag Competition held on 7 November 2023. The First Runner-up team, known as ’A1ph4_Sh4rK!’, consists of Ong Sheng He, Wang Teng Zheng, and Tan Hoe Zhun from the Bachelor of Information Technology (Hons) in Information Security programme, as well as Cheong Khe Yang from the Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons) in Interactive Software Technology.

Held concurrently across Asia Pacific nations including Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia and Vietnam, the competition served as a platform to raise the competency level of future talents and help prepare them for a career in cybersecurity. For the Malaysian leg, the competition saw ten teams from local universities competing against each other. This year’s theme was ’Securing AI’, emphasising the importance of understanding the potential security risks and vulnerabilities associated with AI. The competition took the form of Jeopardy-styled Capture the Flag with six hacking categories, including AI, Cloud, Red team & Blue team, Threat Intelligence & Incident Response, Web, and Binary & Reverse Engineering. Each team had to put their heads together to gain marks by analysing the flaws in the system and exploiting the vulnerabilities to get the flag. This exciting competition provided students with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with AI models and tools, showcase their cybersecurity skills and compete with their talented peers.

Sheng He enthusiastically shared how they were motivated to do their best in the competition. “Our passion for cybersecurity is what drove us towards our achievement. Prior to the competition, we did a lot of practice, day after day to make sure we could face the stiff competition, and we were confident of our preparation when the day of the competition arrived. Participating in the competition itself was exciting as we could also test our own skill levels and find out for ourselves whether we could handle the challenges of cybersecurity. We gave all we had for the competition and we are happy with our achievement,” he shared.

When asked how their programme of study at TAR UMT helped them in the competition, Hoe Zhun was quick to reply. “I am studying information security and this programme has played a crucial role in preparing me for this competition. Courses such as Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT), Network Forensics and Digital Forensics have provided me with essential skills and understanding in tackling the challenges,” he said.

Meanwhile, both Khe Yang and Teng Zheng concurred that in order to win in such a competition, one should never give up in trying to solve the challenge, no matter how difficult it is. They stressed the importance of persistence, sharing a valuable lesson from Khe Yang’s experience. “After grappling with a challenging AI problem for an intense 1-2 hours without success, I took a break and tackled a different problem. When I returned, I managed to successfully crack the initially elusive problem just before the competition ended,” he explained.

The four students were awarded a prize package that included a Nintendo Switch each, job placements within PwC Malaysia’s Digital Trust and Cybersecurity Practice upon graduation, and sponsorship for the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) certification or CREST Practitioner Security Analyst (CPSA) examination upon confirmation of employment.

Besides the First Runner-up win, another TAR UMT team, “newbie”, comprising Tan Wei En, Chai Zheng Xiang, and Woo Chia Ler from the Bachelor of Information Technology (Hons) in Information Security programme, along with Er Qing Yap from the Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons) in Data Science, secured the fifth position in the competition.  



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