The second annual International Cyber League (ICL) Financial Cup, a global cybersecurity tournament, concluded with an undisclosed Fortune 500 financial institution clinching the top spot.
Held from 14 October to 14 November 2023, the tournament was mutually organised by FS-ISAC, a not-for-profit organisation advancing cybersecurity and resilience in the global financial system, and Cyberbit, a provider of the leading cybersecurity skill development and readiness platform.
The first runner-up was team "Cryptomaniacs" from Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and second runner-up was an undisclosed Fortune 500 financial institution based in the US.
The 2023 edition of the tournament featured engagement from 75 teams from around the world, demonstrating robust talent and competition. Three of the top ten finalists hailed from the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, underscoring the region's commitment to enhancing global financial system resilience.
The competition's real-life cyberattack simulations included an advanced live-fire attack on an AWS network, with participants utilising AWS security tools in response.
Cameron Dicker, the Global Head of Business Resilience at FS-ISAC, lauded the tournament as crucial for building needed skills. "Exercises are a key component of testing cyber resilience as firms build the muscle memory required for a strong incident response," Dicker noted.
He added, "The ICL tournament is unique in that it allows teams to test their technical skills, as well as their ability to work together in a simulated live-fire scenario among friendly competition, strengthening our resilience and cyber community as a whole."
Cyberbit's cyber range platform, used in the ICL tournament, immerses users in a virtual Security Operations Centre (SOC), which mirrors live-fire attacks, aiding in readying teams for real-life incidents.
In addition, the platform helps test various technical skills, including malware analysis, and the knowledge of security tools like Splunk Enterprise Security and Palo Alto Firewall.
Sharon Rosenman, Chief Marketing Officer at Cyberbit, expressed satisfaction with the competition's results, stating "We had a tight race among the largest global financial institutions, exemplifying the level of cyber preparedness we hope to achieve in real-life scenarios."
Patrick Brodie, Head of Security Operations, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Company (SMBC) echoed this sentiment, contending that their success is a testament to the team's dedication to the ongoing battle against cyber threats.
The competition was keenly contested, with just seven points separating the final scores of the top three teams. The annual ICL Financial Cup aims to build incident response muscle memory and test technical and soft skills for a coordinated response. This aids organisations in staying ahead of emerging cybersecurity challenges and adapting to the evolving threat landscape.