FS-ISAC, the member-driven, not-for-profit organization that advances cybersecurity and resilience in the global financial system, and Cyberbit, provider of the world’s leading cybersecurity skill development and readiness platform, announced today that team “IsNotTheEDR” from Banco de Crédito Cooperativo (BCC) is the winner of the first International Cyber League (ICL) Financial Cup, 2022 – the first hyper-realistic cybersecurity tournament for the financial industry. The first runner-up is team “Suboptimal” from a leading Fortune 500 financial institution, the second runner-up is Team “AskITTeam” from BCC and the third runner up is team “TIAA” from TIAA.

The tournament ran from 6-26 October 2022 and challenged cybersecurity teams from the financial sector to respond to live-fire cyberattack simulations replicating attacks they may encounter in real life. Teams were scored based on typical incident response KPIs including investigation, eradication, and remediation goals, as well as their response times. The BCC team outperformed 55 cyber defense teams from leading financial organizations around the world and scored a perfect 100 in the live-fire challenge. The Cyberbit platform, normally used by enterprises to train and upskill information security teams, as well as for FS-ISAC’s monthly cyber range workshops, was repurposed to power the ICL competition. The platform provided a virtual arena that emulated an organizational network and a virtual security operations center (SOC) that simulated the live attacks and automatically scored the teams based on their achievements.

The ICL reinvents cybersecurity competition formats by assessing cyber defense skills in real-world scenarios, allowing teams to predict their performance during an attack. Traditional Capture-the-Flag (CTF) events test offensive skills, but these do not reflect the capabilities that cyber defenders will be required to demonstrate during an attack. The ICL leverages cyber range live-fire scenarios to simulate real threat vectors and malware that assess essential “blue team” skills, including technical skills like malware analysis and SIEM investigation, as well as soft skills like teamwork, critical thinking, and communications.

“We in the financial sector believe that exercising builds muscle memory to ensure smooth and efficient incident response,” said Cameron Dicker, Global Head of Business Resilience at FS-ISAC. “We run a wide variety of exercises to ensure preparedness throughout all different organizational levels and functions, and we chose this competition format during Cybersecurity Awareness Month to bring a little fun into this critical tool for operational resilience.”

“CISA and the NCA aptly named this year’s cyber awareness month theme as ‘See Yourself in Cyber,’ demonstrating that  cybersecurity is ultimately, about people,” said Sharon Rosenman, Chief Marketing Officer at Cyberbit. “The feedback from the ICL teams was overwhelmingly positive and we are proud to collaborate with FS-ISAC in helping the financial industry become better prepared for real-world attacks by assessing and maximizing human performance.”

“A Cyber Range is a strategic capability that enables governments and companies to effectively educate and train their professionals, as well as to experiment, test and validate new cybersecurity and cyber defense concepts, technologies, techniques, and tactics. Cyber range competitions such as the ICL Financial Cup help in providing a comparison with the rest of the peers in the sector”, said Francisco Navarro García, Chief Information Security Officer, Banco de Crédito Cooperativo (BCC).

Also Read: Four Key Components for an Effective Cybersecurity Recovery Plan

Additional teams who reached the top 10 in ICL finals include Loan Depot and Somerset Trust.

“The International Cyber League has been an excellent experience for our teams and a fantastic opportunity for them to test their skills with other elite teams across the financial services sector. We are incredibly proud of their work in keeping our company safe. Their strong performance in this competition is celebrated across Technology and the entire company”, said Harold Rivas, Chief Information Officer, Loan Depot.

“Somerset Trust takes the security of our information very seriously, and I have always known that we assembled a good team of security professionals.  It’s always nice to see a competition like this that hones their skills and proves our dedication to security”, said John Ash, Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Somerset Trust.

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