Industry meets academia: Kaspersky and RMIT University launch its first cybersecurity competition


Kaspersky and Australia’s largest tertiary institution RMIT University, collaborated in its first cybersecurity competition where ambitious students competed for the grand prize of US $1,000.00.

Held at RMIT University’s Swanston Academic Building in Melbourne, 20 November 2019, the competition gave young enthusiasts the opportunity to present fresh cybersecurity ideas. Students presented a detailed project to a panel of judges who had a strong cybersecurity background in both industry and academia. The judges took more than an hour to deliberate the winner. It was a unanimous vote that, RMIT University student, Tracy Tam’s presentation on Cybersecurity in Small Business win the grand cash prize of US $1,000.00 sponsored by Kaspersky.

“Caption: Margrith Appleby presents Tracy Tam with a cash prize of US $1000.00 (AU $1,350.00).”

Kaspersky ANZ General Manager Margrith Appleby says, “Our partnership with RMIT University to run this competition within their respective faculties in mathematics, science and technology will ensure the development in training, educational content and innovation for a new breed of cybersecurity talent in Australia.”

The Master of Science student said, “I am pleasantly surprised to win this challenge. I believe I can help small businesses start their journey to build a cybersecurity posture. I also aim to turn them into future business leaders and make them an integral part of our economy.”

“Clockwise: Lecturer in Mathematical Sciences at RMIT University, Dr Joanne Hall, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky, Noushin Shabab, Cybersecurity Design Manager at RMIT University, Prapurna Uppuluri and General Manager of Kaspersky ANZ Margrith Appleby.”

Cybersecurity Design Manager at RMIT University, Prapurna Uppuluri who was on the judging panel adds,” Tracy’s idea was very clear in addressing current problems small businesses face in cybersecurity. We believe her project can help small businesses in the future and with the right approach, her idea will allow for positive legislative change.”

Runners-up was a mix of cybersecurity and data science students. Their project focused on risk management controls with machine learning implementation to predict student performance in educational institutions. Judges were impressed by the team’s timely predictions of student’s performance which will then help tutors allocate the right resources for those needing further academic help. They walked away with US $500.00 courtesy of Kaspersky.

Lecturer in Mathematical Sciences at RMIT University, Dr Joanne Hall, is responsible for initiating conversations with her faculty and putting this competition together. She says, “Our students are going to go out to make the world a better place, so we need to invite the world into universities. We hope to explore opportunities to work with more industry partners in cybersecurity.”

In 2020, the success from this competition will see opportunity to encourage more students to participate in Kaspersky’s annual and internationally recognised SecureIT cup. The winner here is awarded US $10,000 (AU $14,300). Runners up are invited to attend the, Kaspersky Security Analysts Summit, an international event that brings together the world’s foremost IT security experts and also sponsorship to participate in one of the cybersecurity conferences in their region of residence.