State-of-the-Art Cyber Security Competitions and Penetration Testing at RIT

18 Jan, 2023

Min read

RIT Cyber Security and Pen Testing cyber security courses

In January, our CyberSkills team members Dr George O’Mahony and Dean Brennan attended the Global Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition 2023. The competition, which was hosted at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, USA, offered the team a chance to engage with state-of-the-art cyber security competitions and penetration testing and bring back their learnings to MTU. As well as this, the visit presented us with the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between MTU and RIT, and to discuss potential future collaborations. 

The contest showcased world-class skills in the cyber security space, with entrants competing by conducting a full penetration test on a simulated organisational environment, with the goal of detecting and effectively reporting on as many vulnerabilities as possible. A penetration test, or pen test, is an attempt to evaluate the security of a computer infrastructure by safely trying to exploit vulnerabilities. Neither Dr O’Mahony nor Mr Brennan are strangers to demonstrating their own skills in this competitive domain.  Dr O’ Mahony is currently the World Skills Ireland Expert for Skill 54 Cybersecurity, and Mr Brennan was part of the first ever Team Ireland to compete in the cybersecurity skill at the 2022 World Skills Special Edition in Korea. Nonetheless, the level of expertise and innovation on display at this competition in New York was found to be impressive by both of our team members. According to both Dr O’Mahony and Mr Brennan, the provided industry masterclass in penetration testing was especially useful to attendees, for both academic purposes and future industry engagements that focus on cyber range infrastructure. As Dr O’Mahony said, 

Attending the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition 2023 at Rochester Institute of Technology was truly a fantastic experience. It was brilliant to get the chance to observe and learn from such a great competition so we can make cyber security competitions in Ireland much stronger. Getting a tour of their state-of-the-art Cyber Range was an added bonus. Thanks to Rochester Institute of Technology for hosting myself and Dean.

Engaging with world-class international competitions such as this are an integral way for our team to stay at the forefront of the cyber security domain. The learnings from the Global Collegiate Competition 2023 were extensive and included new techniques and approaches to apply to our Cyber Skills Cyber Range infrastructure and new insights into what cyber scenarios to develop. These learnings will be applied by our team members when prepping for the World Skills Ireland cybersecurity preliminary and final competitions coming up in 2023. This national competition covers Enterprise Infrastructure Security, Cyber Security Incident Response, Digital Forensic Investigations, Application Security and Capture-The-Flag (CTF) Red and Blue Challenges. As such, it gives students a chance to display their skills and put their knowledge to the test across a wide range of areas. With the help of our CyberSkills team, this next generation of cyber security professionals will be given the chance to hone their skills and develop the expertise needed to protect our systems from future attacks.

The preliminary World Skills Cybersecurity competition 2023 will run on:

  • Friday May 26th, 4pm to 8pm
  • Saturday May 27th, 9am to 1pm

Entry form:   


  • Competitors must only compete in one preliminary competition.
  • Competitors must be born in 1999 or later.
  • Competitors must be either studying or working on the island of Ireland.

The top competitors from all the preliminary competitions held will compete at the RDS in September in the National Final and compete for the 2023 Silver Medal. The National final will also be the Team Ireland Selection event for the next World Skills International Competition.

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