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2023 Semester 2

··841 words·4 mins

Hi everyone, I hope you had a productive semester/quarter. In this post, I’ll recap the previous semester, and I’ll update you on the changes and plans we have ahead of semester 2.

Semester 1 Recap #

Orientation Week #

We had an awesome time during last semester’s orientation festival, especially when we met new and current members. For the new members that possibly just met us, we explained our mission and why it’s important. As shown by the picture below, we used the trusty beginner-level lock-picking set as method of explaining the hacker’s philosophy.

new MonSec members understanding the philosophy of cyber-security via lock-picking
new MonSec members understanding the philosophy of cyber-security via lock-picking

Weekly Workshops #

Throughout last semester’s weekly workshops our members learned about web exploits, Digital Forensics & Incident Response (DFIR), beginner-level penetration testing, beginner-level Linux command-line, CTF practices, and a little bit of Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT). We would like to thank the guest speakers from Splunk, Google and Promithic for teaching us about incident response tooling, supply chain security and bypassing techniques.

Callum, Harris & Natasha with our members after their insightful talk about DFIR & industry landscape
Callum, Harris & Natasha with our members after their insightful talk about DFIR & industry landscape

Beginner CTF #

This year’s Beginner CTF is the first time we deployed CTFd and Docker-based challenges on Azure through Terraform, which wouldn’t have been possible without Matti’s migration efforts and Kar Jun’s DevOps skills. I would like to thank them both for teaching me about Terraform as we progressed through the migration and operation.

MonSec members tackling Beginner CTF challenges with EY’s cyber-security experts
MonSec members tackling Beginner CTF challenges with EY’s cyber-security experts

During the CTF, we had a wonderful time solidifying our members understanding of team-oriented CTF events and helping them with understanding cyber-security concepts. In addition, we would like to thank EY for bringing their Advanced Security Center consultants to talk to us and for sponsoring the catering for the event.

MonSec Committee & EY’s Advanced Security Center’s consultants
MonSec Committee & EY’s Advanced Security Center’s consultants

Ordinary General Meeting #

  • During last semester’s Ordinary General Meeting, we elected Oscar as this year’s Outreach & Partnerships Officer, and it’s safe to say he learned the role quite quickly due to his work throughout the last 3 months on industry relations and the sponsorship prospectus.
  • As Elias is expected to graduate soon, we also elected Sarah as vice-president for this semester. We wish Elias the best of luck in the future and thank him for his contributions to the club.

2023 Ordinary General Meeting
2023 Ordinary General Meeting

Revisions #

Throughout the break between semesters 1 and 2, we worked hard on improving our public-facing resources in order to increase their usability.

Sponsorship Prospectus #

During the previous semester, we realised that our sponsorship prospectus needs some work in order to encompass the essence of MonSec. By utilising our non-profit Canva license, James, Yuki and Oscar and myself created a bespoke document that showcases all of the information a potential sponsor would need before partnering with us. It is available via the link below, and a PDF version is available via email.

View Sponsorship Prospectus

Website #

While working on the sponsorship prospectus, we noticed that the amazing Terminal theme (by Radek KozieĊ‚) is no longer maintained. Yuki and myself saw it as an opportunity to start the website’s theming from scratch, and improve the overall its usability. I didn’t want to migrate to a new rendering platform both due to the content backlog, and also due to the ridiculous build times and extensibility Hugo provides. As a strong foundation, we chose the Congo theme (by James Panther) due to its built-in image optimisation features and easier customisations through the use of Tailwind CSS for styling. In order to make it feel like MonSec, we added some modifications to the header, footer, homepage, font, colour scheme and one more flag that can’t be found. For the OSINT enjoyers out there, the previous version of the website is saved in the Internet Archive.

Sponsors #

  • We are delighted to welcome back Optiver as a platinum sponsor. I’m certain our members appreciate having a leading trading firm partnering with MonSec.
  • Following a successful guest-speaker event with Promithic, we are thrilled to work with them further as gold sponsors. I’m sure our members will appreciate learning from their extensive experience in the cyber-security industry.

Semester 2 Events #

Weekly Workshops #

In preparation for Australia’s biggest CTF, we will cover even more areas of practical cyber-security as part of our weekly events. In addition, we will feature several guest speakers from the forefront of Australia’s cyber-security industry, who will share their experience with us from a different angle.

DownUnderCTF #

DownUnderCTF is scheduled on the 1st to 3rd of September. We definitely plan to form one or more teams as part of our participation, as this CTF event is an incredible opportunity for our members to showcase and sharpen their skills.

Conclusion #

I can’t wait to start next semester, and I’m grateful to be part of such an amazing committee.

Also I couldn’t help myself, and fired-up GIMP (the program) in order to make another semi-annual meme for this post, as a way to capture MonSec’s passion for what we do.

Hopefully Mutahar appreciates this meme… (made with GIMP)