About 70 students across the Asia Pacific took part in the APAC Secur’IT Cup hackathon last September, organized by Kaspersky and Hackathons International. The students from Singapore won the hackathon with their next-generation Web Application Firewalls.
These students were Yu Pengfei and Matthew Ng Wei Le from the Singapore Institute of Technology and the National University of Singapore. Upon their win, they took home the winning prize of AUD1,000 Australian dollars (PHP36,406.95). The pair’s submission also won an entry to the Global Secur’IT Cup Finals in December, a reward of USD 10,000.
Going by Team Waflegends, these students chose to tackle a new way of applying machine learning in cybersecurity. They devised a concept around Web Application Firewalls (WAF), which is described as ‘the first line of defense” in a cyberattack.
Their Next Generation WAF uses the power of machine learning to “not only constantly upgrade itself when fed with data as malicious actors attempt to breach it, but also successfully detect payloads without the need for the traditional block or allow list.”
The runners-up winning USD500 was Team OwO, composed of Deondra Goh and Bao Ren Lim from Singapore and Kuck Swee Nien from Malaysia. They developed a machine learning service to detect fake news and cybercriminal abuse on social platforms and notify their users, focusing predominantly on WeChat, WhatsApp, and Telegram.
The third placer winning USD300 worth of Amazon vouchers was Team Ethical, composed of Australian students Eleni Lykopandis, Subham Saha, and Natnaree Laoharawee. Choosing to tackle the fighting cyber violence’ stream, the group developed a technical add-on to a bank ATM called Social Services, which would enable victims of violence to access support covertly without raising external suspicions. The solution would act as an independent advisor and link to social, legal, and financial services.
Besides the winners, among the participative contestants, a solo research entry from the Philippines named Joey Zantua, Jr. from the Camarines Norte School of Law was among the winners. A BS Legal Management student, Zantua submitted a project idea into the competition track on fighting cyber violence.
APAC Secur’IT Cup hackathon began on October 29. It ended on October 31, where 16 teams were mentored by industry specialists from tech giants such as Atlassian, Microsoft, Google, Canva, and Kaspersky, alongside experts from academia, government, and NGOs.
The Secur’IT Cup tasked students with sharing research and project ideas that could address several issues within cybersecurity.
Judges of the event were Matt Byrne, senior manager of Threat Intel at PricewaterhouseCoopers; Karen Bentley, CEO of WESNET; and Kaspersky ANZ General Manager Margrith Appleby.