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Q&A: Students take second in ‘intense’ cybersecurity competition

Five people with bouquets of flowers standing next to each other looking at the camera.
Left to right: Roberto Guanciale, senior lecturer at KTH and the students' coach, and Ludwig Kristoffersson, Elin Granstedt, Hampus Carlens and Gustaf Zachrisson. Photo: Anders G Warne.
Published Feb 21, 2024

Elin Granstedt was on the KTH student team that recently made it all the way to the final of Cyber Challenge 2024, which is held by the Swedish Defence University and the National Cyber Security Center. The team finished in second place.

How does it feel?

"Now that we have rested, it was an intense day. First, we had to present our prepared solution to a jury of security experts, military personnel and industry professionals. As we moved on to the final, it was stressful analyzing a new situation and developing new solutions in a short period of time. The temperature was further raised by a final plot twist, which required us to adapt to new information on the fly. Afterwards, we were quite tired but satisfied. And it was of course great to be awarded second place in a national competition with teams from 11 other universities."

What were the details of the competition?

"Cyber Challenge is about cyber security but with a focus on strategy and policy. We were given a fictional but realistic situation in which several cyber incidents had occurred in Sweden. Instead of technical solutions, we had to develop proposals for how authorities, companies and politicians should act to deal with the hypothetical crises. The challenge was more about analyzing all the material we received — reports, news articles, tweets — understanding the conditions and what was important to prioritize."

What would you have needed to achieve first place?

"Of course, our technical knowledge in IT, information and cyber security helped. But we have no training in policy, strategy or law from the courses we studied at KTH. So the team from the Swedish Defence University felt like a worthy winner."

What happens next?

"Later this spring, a similar student competition will be held at the international level by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. The organizers are recommending that the top three teams participate, but we haven't decided what to do."

Told to: Peter Asplund ( )

This is what the students are studying

  • Ludwig Kristoffersson: MSc in Computer Engineering with a Master's degree in Computer Science. 
  • Elin Granstedt: MSc in Media Technology with a Master's program in Computer Science. 
  • Hampus Carlens and Gustaf Zachrisson: MSc in Electrical Engineering with MSc in Systems Engineering and Robotics.  
Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Feb 21, 2024