Cyber Centurion competition at Bletchley Park

Today, the guys at SubjectRefresh and I competed in the Cyber Centurion Security Challenge at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

The day started with an introduction by the organisers and a brief explanation of how the day was going to work. Then it was off to the marquee to get started securing the machines we were provided with. There were two Windows VMs (server 2008 and 8.1) and one Ubuntu 14.04 image. The team delegated four people to work on the machines in the first part of the day and swapped out two at lunch time.

By the end, we’d managed to get 66% of the vulnerabilities on Ubuntu and about 80% on each of the Windows VMs. This result was on par with most of the other teams, the top 5 or so each having really close overall scores.

Our team bio is available at https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/competitors/cybercenturion/ and you can find out more about the Finals at https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/competition-final-at-bletchley-park/.

It was a fantastic day and we all had a lot of fun. To top it all off, we featured on the ITV Anglia news this evening! http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/update/2016-04-26/competition-aims-to-find-next-generation-of-cyber-defence-experts/

Announcing a brand new app – Healthy!

Note: Healthy was launched about 5 months ago but I’ve only just got around to writing this post.

On Nov 3, 2015, SubjectRefresh spent a day in London at the annual Open Data Institute Summit, where we gave two presentations on our Young Rewired State Festival of Code 2015 Refresh app.

We were also challenged to create an application using open data that gets people to eat healthier. We came up with Healthy, a calculator that tells you “the time to burn” of a particular food.

It’s built on top of Node.js and uses Socket.io to communicate with the browser in real time. This means no page refreshing, no Ajax calls and no latency. We use an API to collect the information about the food the user has requested and then use some algorithms to figure out how much time doing a particular excercise is needed to burn off the calories.

I worked mainly on the algorithms to extract the information from the API and also wrote a large amount of the main JS for the Node.js web server and Socket.io integrations.

The code is available on GitHub and you can try out Healthy now at http://subjectrefresh.info/healthy/!

A URL shortener written in ten minutes

Friday night, or more specifically, Friday February 26th 2016 at 19:45:57, I was having a group Skype call with Alexander CraggsMiles Budden and Tom Emmerson when Alexander started complaining that all the URL shorteners out there were becoming too long. To clarify, URL shorteners were becoming bloated. He suddenly said, “Let’s make a URL shortener”. The situation escalated very rapidly and within 5 minutes, Miles had bought the domain subr.pw for an astronomical price of £0.60, I had setup Nginx on the server used for the majority of SubjectRefresh‘s projects and Alexander had setup the codebase and had a Node.js skeleton ready to go.

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Refresh – a revision tool with a difference!

During the YRS Festival of Code 2015, “SubjectRefresh” and I created a revision app called Refresh. It’s built using Node.js and works by scraping the exam board website (currently only CIE) for the PDF for the syllabus the user has requested. The PDF is then converted to HTML using a PDF to HTML converter and is then shunted through Node’s Cheerio library. We then find out where the relevant information in the HTML is and send that off to TextRazor.

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