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HBC takes top spot in cyber skills competition

The Cyberbit platform delivers a “Zero to Hero” skilling, training and assessment solution on-demand


Canadian retailer the Hudson’s Bay Company recently took first place in the International Cyber League (ICL), organized by Cyberbit, a cyber skilling platform headquartered in Ra’anana, Israel.

The Cyberbit platform delivers a “Zero to Hero” skilling, training and assessment solution on-demand. Stephen Burg, director of product marketing at Cyberbit, says ICL was conceived as an idea sometime at the beginning of 2019.

“We had said we wanted to start the Cyber League to find the world’s best cybersecurity team,” said Burg. Analysts, incident responders, forensic investigators, threat hunters, and other specialized roles can be broadly classified under the category of “blue team.” Their purpose is to defend an organization from cyber-attacks and respond in the least possible time against such attacks. The “red team” consists of penetration testers and vulnerability assessors.

“There are no judges — the judge itself was the platform,” Burg explained. “The top six teams who knew how to communicate with each other, who had to work together without spoken communication but knew exactly what their partners were doing, created a much more time-efficient experience. That’s why these were our top teams — they could work together and they can talk together; they knew each other’s skills.”

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Burg said the team from Hudson’s Bay excelled in all of the cyber skilling platforms.

“The Hudson’s Bay Company SOC and incident response team is thrilled and humbled to have recently won the title of Best Cyber Defence Team in the Americas,” said Omer Odabasi, security operations centre senior analyst, at Hudson’s Bay Company, in an emailed response. “Cyberbit is an excellent simulation platform that provides hands- on practical experience.”

Burg was impressed by the quick response the Hudson’s Bay cybersecurity team demonstrated.

“These were people who were able to quickly identify an attack. They knew exactly what steps to take during an investigation,” Burg said. “Even though the steps were different for every scenario, they were able to identify the behaviours to the investigation and mitigate the attack in a very time efficient way, which is exactly what you want from your cyber defence team.”

The experience studying and preparing for the stimulated attacks was one that helped the team at Hudson’s Bay to build on their cyber skills and internal communication, according to Odabasi.

“The ICL was a priceless experience for me, especially working with my teammates Erik Mercado and Jorge Lozada,” Odabasi shared. “Live fire exercises are essential to help blue teams prepare for real cyberattacks. We look forward to continuing our hard work, and we thank ICL for recognizing our efforts.”

With over 100 organizations participating in this year’s competition, Burg hopes that next year’s ICL will expand to Europe and Asia, in addition to another competition in the Americas.

“We’re going to bring on more organizations, and we’re going to bring on new content,” Burg said. “Next year it’s going to be all new scenarios and an even bigger competition.”