(Ghostwritten for Kellie Vugrincic)
In October 2022, Invicti organized its first Cybersecurity Roadshow event in Malta. Invicti staff visited MCAST to meet the students and faculty for a discussion of cybersecurity as both a field of study and a promising career path.At Invicti, we want to be a pillar of the local community, wherever that might be. Our local teams feel driven to give back to communities and embark on initiatives that help us meet this goal. We also strongly believe that the new generation of young, brilliant minds is the future of cybersecurity, especially in light of the ever-growing cybersecurity skills gap. All this has led to a group of volunteers from Invicti’s Malta office creating and executing the Cybersecurity Roadshow.
The Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology
The Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST) is a public school known for its progressive and practical approach to teaching. Its student programs are very diverse and aim to help future alumni thrive on the job market. The MCAST Institute of Information and Communication Technology offers both diplomas and Bachelor of Science (Honours) programs, for example, Computer Systems and Networks as well as Software Development.
In addition to providing courses such as ITNET-506-1806 Network Security and ITSFT-506-2012 Securing Applications, MCAST has passionate educators who create opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. One such initiative is Hackspace, led by two lecturers: Robert Abela and Christopher Farrugia. Thanks to Hackspace, students can extend their cybersecurity knowledge and pursue their passions.
The first Cybersecurity Roadshow event
Working together with Robert Abela and Chris Farrugia as well as the eSkills Malta Foundation, the local Invicti team led by Mary Downing, our Operations Program Manager, prepared a three-hour event aimed at all MCAST students interested in learning about web application security and future career opportunities in that field. While about 30 students signed up initially, the turnout exceeded our expectations – 45 students, mostly from the second year, decided to take time off other courses and listen to what Invicti had to say.
The event, which took place on October 24th, 2022, included several dynamic activities. After introductions by Carm Cachia, the Chief Administrator of the eSkills Malta Foundation, and Conrad Vassallo, the Director at MCAST Institute of ICT, Mary Downing headlined an icebreaker where students were to team up and build the highest tower out of spaghetti sticks, marshmallows, and sticky tape. This was followed by a short lecture by Tomasz Andrzej Nidecki, Principal Cybersecurity Writer and the primary author of Invicti Learn, who introduced the basics of web application security and presented a practical scenario to show what can happen when applications are breached, talking about the role of the server-side request forgery vulnerability in the Capital One attack in 2019.
After a short break, an expert panel discussion was conducted, where Invicti representatives shared their thoughts on the future of web application security, the biggest issues facing the industry, and the career opportunities. The panel was led by Oksana Pure, our Senior Marketing Manager, and featured Robert Abela from MCAST as well as Invicti’s own crew: Karl Gonzi – General Manager Malta, Nicholas Sciberras – Principal Product Manager, Katherine Attard – Apprentice Engineer (and MCAST student), and Tomasz Andrzej Nidecki.
The event concluded with a 15-minute cybersecurity quiz prepared by Tomasz, which turned out to be quite a challenge. Nevertheless, the winning team aced it, getting 24 out of 30 possible points. After the quiz, participants were encouraged to mingle with the panelists and ask any questions, with several students going directly to Nicholas Sciberras to discuss potential dissertation topics.
Cybersecurity in Malta – the future
“I’m proud and hopeful about the new generation,” said Nicholas Sciberras. “They have brilliant minds, and many of them show a passion for cybersecurity. I’m greatly enjoying helping them choose interesting dissertation topics, and I hope they will express interest in an apprenticeship with us in the future, just like our priceless Katherine Attard, who has already made a huge difference in the company.”
“We would love to make Malta Europe’s cybersecurity hub,” explained Karl Gonzi. “Not only do we have a lot of local talent, but our island has also been a technology hub for many years, with industries such as blockchain and iGaming being among the primary foundations of our economy. We look forward to working with stakeholders in the private and public sectors to help make this a reality.”
The Cybersecurity Roadshow team is working on more events in the future, possibly heading out to other educational institutions on the island as well as planning events aimed at promoting the security of children in the digital world. Stay tuned to hear more!