Tallinn University of Technology

CyberDrilling is a cyber security competition for the 7 - 12 grade pupils of vocational schools. Every year, vocational schools from all over Estonia send their contestants to compete in CyberDrilling. The competition was developed by TalTech and the purpose of the contest is to find 10,000 Estonian cyber talents within 10 years. The cyber security and data leak incidents of the last few years have shown that the need for cyber talents is increasing.

According to Birgy Lorenz, the scholar of the TalTech Centre for Digital Forensics and Cyber Security, contestants from 62 vocational schools with 144 male and female teams entered the final round of CyberDrilling on December 8, 2020. In total, 432 brave contestants participated. “35 % of all the contestants were three-member teams of girls. This is a record, as so far the number of female participants in IT-related competitions in Estonia has been 20-25 per cent and in the cyber security competitions, the share of girls has been 2-8 per cent of total participants,” said Lorenz.

One of the sponsors of the contest is the law firm Hedman Partners. Merlin Seeman, the partner of the company, said it is important to encourage young people to chase big dreams and to support their interest towards real subjects and information technology. “Today’s youth are tomorrow’s decision makers, discoverers and innovation leaders. We’re very glad to be part of the initiative that supports young people’s interest in technology and research, that encourages cooperation and broadens horizons, while developing entrepreneurial spirit in future decision makers,“ added Seeman.

The preparation for CyberDrilling started in October with preliminary rounds in 90 schools. More than 3000 contestants participated from where the school could choose two teams of boys and two teams of girls. The competition tasks demanded the skills of internet search, general wit to notice and solve problems, logical thinking and basic level encryption skills.

For example, the easier tasks included explaining the proper behaviour in a situation where a person is using a computer that has slowed down, and the user notices tables being opened and data searched in the documents folder. The trickier questions included location detection based on an image. According to Birgy Lorenz, both question types give necessary skills for browsing the internet and dealing with technology, as today, there are more viruses and malware on the internet than there are people using it. “In order to find out the truth, you have to be a skilled detective to determine what happened and where, with whom and why it happened,” said Lorenz.

Next to CyberDrilling, another event was held on December 8 – the online cyber conference „Legality and Lawlessness". The topics of the conference were cyber ethics of the digital world and data protection of online classes. The panel discussion focussed on the topics of school, home, society and cyber security.

The supporters of CyberDrilling competition are the Estonian Ministry of Defence, the project Smartly on the Web, the TalTech, the Information System Authority of the Republic of Estonia, HARNO (the Education and Youth Authority), the law firm Hedman Partners, ZONE Media, IIZI, Hansab, KPMG, Startup Estonia, CGI, the Tallinn Education Board, the Estonian Internet Foundation, the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences Mainor, the University of Tartu, the Tallinn University, the Estonian Aviation Academy, the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, the Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association, CTF Pärnu, Kehtna Vocational Education Centre, the Connecting Europe Facility and Interreg Europe Cyber.

You can see the locations of participating schools here.
See the best tasks of the final rounds of previous years (in Estonian) here.
See the gallery of last year’s competition here.