A competition between military and banking personnel produced collaborative results when Army took on National Australia Bank (NAB) in a cyber-security challenge.

Cyber-security experts from both organisations tackled a simulated cyber attack in a competition at the Melbourne offices of information technology and data company Splunk on February 13.

The challenge pitted Army’s 138th Signal Squadron against the NAB team in a realistic attack by a malicious actor. The teams’ job was to identify the nature of the attack.

Head Information Warfare Major General Marcus Thompson was the driving force behind the collaboration with NAB.

“Whether it’s the ADF protecting networks and mission systems or NAB protecting the funds and data of customers, we’re all in the business of defending the nation,” Major General Thompson said.

“Cyber security is a broad field and we need to continually challenge the way we approach and think about defensive cyber operations.”

Lieutenant Remy Coll commanded the Army team and said technical skill was not as important as learning quickly.

“It speaks a lot that our military members went in with limited experience on the platform and were able to adapt and overcome the problems,” Lieutenant Coll said.

“We exchanged notes with the NAB team and it was great to see how they queried the system to find things.”

Army cyber operator Signals Leigh Head said even though it was a competition, NAB team members offered their expertise and advice to their Army opponents.

“Having never touched Splunk before, we tried to achieve what we could with the little understanding we had of the system,” Signals Head said.

“With my previous cyber training, I applied those concepts to extract the information from the program.”

The Information Warfare Division is on the lookout for the next cyber-security collaboration.