Estonia's oldest hacking competition opened the cyber month

Over four hours, more than 40 aspiring cyber-enthusiasts immersed themselves in the finals of CyberSpike 2023. Their mission was clear: to showcase their cybersecurity skills in a highly competitive environment. What unfolded was an impressive demonstration of their capabilities, both in the cyber realm and in front of the camera.

CyberSpike 2023

CyberSpike finals provided a platform for these young talents not only to prove their skills in cybersecurity but also to shine under the spotlight in a highly competitive environment. In a Capture The Flag (CTF) type of challenge, they displayed resilience, critical thinking, and adaptability — all essential qualities in the world of cybersecurity.

In addition, the CyberSpike competition has become a symbol of strengthening national cyber security through talent discovery, raising awareness of cyber threats and international cooperation. It is also a testament to Estonia’s commitment to being a leader in cybersecurity and ensuring a safer digital world for all.

Round of applause to the winners

The competition was fierce, and we are honoured to announce the best young cyber talent in 2023 - Marko Tsengov, a second-year informatics student at the University of Tartu! Marko liked the diversity of this year’s CyberSpike challenges. “I feel good that I was able to prove myself in such a tight competition,” he admitted and added that after finishing his studies in informatics, he plans a career in the field of cyber security.

Second place went to Rico-Andreas Lepp (University of Tartu, Cybernetica) and third place to Jaan Artur Viirsalu (Hugo Treffner Gymnasium). A team will be assembled from the best of CyberSpike 2023 to represent Estonia at the European Cyber Security Challenge.

Embracing the Future

These initiatives are not just about celebrating talent; they are about securing our collective digital future. Siim Alatalu, the CEO of CR14, emphasised that it is very important to pay attention to young talents. “Today, they are competing here, but tomorrow, they will contribute to ensuring Estonia’s cyber security. Young people have the freshest view of future threats, which we can use for the benefit of society,” he added.

Thousands of young people have participated in the cybersecurity competitions organised by TalTech over the past years. “However, more important is the meaning and goal that we have been able to implement in cooperation with our many partners. Thanks to the cyber talents found, Estonia will be able to remain a leader in the information society in the future,” said Gert Jervan, Dean of TalTech’s School of IT.

The winners of CyberSpike 2023 will form a team representing Estonia at the European Cyber Security Challenge 2024 - a significant opportunity for these talented youngsters to further demonstrate their skills and compete on an international stage.

The young talents identified today will undoubtedly play a crucial role in defending and shaping our digital future.

A Team Effort: Making CyberSpike a Success

The success of CyberSpike was a collective effort, with individuals and teams joining forces to ensure the event ran seamlessly. Birgy Lorenz and the TalTech team, Rain Nõmmsalu and the CTF Tech team, Tarmo Sillaots and the Miltton Events team, Hannes Krause with CR14 and Johannes Kadak as the Head of the Jury played crucial roles in orchestrating a successful and engaging event.

In addition to the CyberSpike final, an entertaining and educational competition and fair, “Targa Tuleviku Tuleproov”, by the University of Tartu (Tartu Ülikooli teaduskool) took place - with a focus on finding solutions to the challenges of the cyber world. In the fair area managed by entrepreneurs, guests could try their hand at knowledge in workshops.

The organising and supporting partners were also the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Defense.

The MoU signing ceremony at the Accelerating Decarbonisation and Digitalisation Conference in Singapore

CR14 helps to safeguard the seven seas

Maritime technology has been developing rapidly for some time now, with 80% of world trade transported by sea today. While we enjoy the fruits of that development, we must remember to fortify our defences to ensure they remain untainted. That is why we proudly announce that CR14 has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Tallinn University of Technology to jointly focus and collaborate on maritime cybersecurity R&D.

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