FIC (International Cybersecurity Forum) 2020: Analysis and debriefing

12 March 2020
The FIC (International Cybersecurity Forum) took place in Lille from 28 to 30 January 2020. This is a major European annual event, attracting thousands of cybersecurity experts.

Six of our consultants (working on various projects such as intrusion tests, the creation of governance strategies, the development of secure infrastructures, etc.) went to Lille to compete in the high-profile Forensic Challenges, showcasing jobs related to IT protection. The objective for participants in this type of challenge is to explore the scope of digital investigation techniques in order to understand the sequence of actions carried out on or with an information system and to gather evidence (trace searches).

The first challenge was organised by students studying for the professional degree of "Associate for the defence and anti-intrusion of computer systems" at the IUT of Valenciennes. It included a large number of challenges connected to incident response, i.e. finding the origin and process of an attack, identifying and removing malware, recovering data and guaranteeing its integrity. To do so, our analysts had to study different types of data such as memory dumps, network captures and suspicious binaries in order to determine the nature of the attacks. In order to resolve these various incidents, they had to draw on their multiple skills in reverse engineering (dissecting a binary to understand how it works), cryptography (encrypting information or messages), steganography (hiding information or messages in other messages), network frame analysis (statistical analysis of data passing through a network) and forensics. During 4 hours of fierce competition, our team gave a very high-quality performance, finishing in 16th place out of a total of 44 participating teams.

Building on this first, extremely encouraging result, our 6 experts then tackled the second challenge with renewed impetus and confidence. Organised this time by EPITA (the French Graduate School of Computer Science and Advanced Technologies), the tests involved log analysis, which is a core task in cybersecurity. These logs keep a record of all the events that have taken place in a computer program or operating system. An analysis of these logs makes it possible to detect potential alterations and to take appropriate corrective measures to resolve them. The agenda also included a study of malicious behaviour in Android apps. Each year we spend more and more time on our phones. Indeed, since 2019, Internet use has been greater on smartphones than on computers. The amount of malware (malicious software designed to harm a computer system), spyware (malicious software designed to spy on a computer system) and ransomware (malicious software designed to encrypt a computer system until a ransom is paid) is growing steadily due to the intensive use of these devices. Our team got a chance to demonstrate its expertise with this type of device throughout this challenge, which presented increasing levels of difficulty from one event to another with increasingly challenging scenarios. Our experts took 18th place out of the 53 teams taking part.

By being placed twice in the top 20, AUSY's ethical hackers have demonstrated the breadth of their know-how and ingenuity. The feedback and the team spirit gained from FIC 2020 will undoubtedly give us a great advantage when it comes to achieving similarly good, and even better, results when we take part in future events.


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