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The ultimate way to test your hacking skills as a student in a real-life setting!

by Cybersprint Blog 22 Jun 2021

It may seem far off, but in fact it’s just around the corner: the 4th edition of Hâck The Hague which will be held on Monday 27 September 2021. A digital edition for the first time in history. Out of the 200 available seats, 50 have been reserved for student participants. But why would you participate in this hacking competition being a student? Alex Scherphof, ethical hacker and cyber security lecturer at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and Michael de Klein, ex-student at the forementioned university and nowadays ethical hacker at Computest answer this question for you.

As real as it gets

Hâck The Hague is a unique event in The Netherlands as no other municipality exposes her applications - in a controlled manner - to hackers in an open and transparent way in order to find out what improvements can be made in securing both tools and the data they contain. According to Alex, Hâck The Hague is particularly a hack event where students can test their cyber security knowledge and skills in a real-life setting. Alex: “This is as real as it gets. For our minor program Security Lab we have a so called security audit project which allows students hack the live systems of the university, but most students do not have access to environments that are a good representation of what you would encounter in an everyday practice. The Hâck The Hague setting is both very large and diverse as it not only contains systems of the municipality itself, but also those of a large part of it’s suppliers. The cyber security sector is a very tight community so another reason to go to Hâck The Hague is to meet people, professional hackers that might be good connection for future jobs.

“Hâck The Hague is a unique event in The Netherlands, a hacking competition where students can test their cyber security knowledge and skills in a real-life setting. This is about as real as it gets.
- Alex Scherphof, ethical hacker and cyber security lecturer at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Stepping-stone for the real deal

Michael de Klein personally experienced that participating in Hâck The Hague can effectively contribute to a job in cyber security. Michael: “At the time when invitations went out for the 2019 edition of Hâck The Hague, I was doing the minor Security Labs at Rotterdam University and investigating ethical hacking to be precise. This event was the perfect possibility to test my knowledge in this field and I decided to register together with a fellow student. Two see more than one, you know. As part of this minor I did an internship with Computest, my current employer. A part of their services is aimed at assisting customers with their cyber security. My participation in Hâck The Hague plus winning one of the available awards directly contributed to the fact that they decided to hire me after I concluded my studies. Want to know more about Michael’s participation in Hâck The Hague? Click here. 

“My participation in Hâck The Hague plus winning one of the available awards directly contributed to the fact that I was able to secure a job as professional hacker.”
- Michael de Klein, ethical hacker, Computest

The right culture

Alex: “So far, I personally attended Hâck The Hague twice and it’s great to see that a municipality like The Hague invites hackers in all openness and transparency to test their production systems. Chris van ‘t Hof, the event moderator, knows how to ensure that the event has the exact right setting and culture, it feels a bit like a hacker party. Those two facts make Hâck The Hague one of a kind.” Michael: “Hâck The Hague was an incredibly valuable experience for me: fun, exiting and very educational. I will definitely be attending the 2021 online edition, as part of the same team - who knows, we might win another award!”

Read more about Michael's experience here.

Hâck The Hague 2021 in the media

An awesome event like Hâck The Hague is bound to grab attention in the media. How many municipalities and organisations voluntarily allow their systems to be hacked? Not that many, and definitely not by 200 hackers at the same time! From interviews with hackers, to articles about the competition. We have summarised the most remarkable coverage for you in this blog post. 

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Hâck The Hague 2021 Press Release

The Hague, 27 September 2021 – Today the digital infrastructure of the municipality of The Hague was scrutinised by 206 ethical national and international hackers. Among the 125 reported vulnerabilities were; unsafe access to accounts, outdated software, the ability to inject malicious code into a website and an account that could be taken over completely.

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Hâck The Hague programme: sneak preview

We have planned an exciting programme for Hâck The Hague that will air on 27 September. Expect fun podcasts and videos about cybersecurity in all shapes and sizes. We tested citizens of The Hague on their knowledge of cybersecurity and held exclusive interviews with both professional and student hackers. What will they share? Here's a sneak peak. 

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