The 4th edition of Garage48 Cyber Security hackathon unified participants from 14 countries

How do you grow, nourish, and expand the cybersecurity community and contribute to the formation of new cybersecurity startups? You organize a hackathon - a virtual one! On the 23rd to 25th of October Garage48, Startup Estonia, the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu, and several cybersecurity-related startups and organizations came together and poured their heart and brain cells into organizing and supporting the birth of the 4th Cyber Security Hackathon.

Having things moving and getting to deliver results online means that you get to ditch all the restrictions that come with organizing a physical event and open the hackathon up for a larger public. We had close to 170 applications and 29 ideas presented to us. From those, 18 ideas and teams were chosen to compete at the hackathon. Besides having the highest number of participants ever wanting to join the Cyber Security hackathon, we also managed to go borderless and have participants brainstorm and work tirelessly from 14 countries - Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Belgium, USA, Ukraine, Denmark, India, Pakistan, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, UK, and Afghanistan.

But why did we take on this challenge to organize the Cyber Security 2020 hackathon amid a global crisis and despite it, turn it even into a larger one than any of the previous hackathons? We’ll let our mentors answer that:

As Marily Hendrikson, Cyber Security Project Lead at Startup Estonia and one of the main organizers of the hackathon said: “Cyber technology is a rapidly growing industry and it is becoming increasingly more attractive to young ambitious entrepreneurs, as well as to investors from Estonia and abroad. Today, there are 16 CyberTech unicorns in the world, with more knocking on the door. Estonian startups have shown stable growth, attracting large investments. Investors have strong faith in these companies and they are willing to contribute to their success.”

Or as Siim Teller, our marketing and business mentor for the hackathon and an early-stage startup investor have put it: “Estonia has the right ingredients for the next big digital security success story. We have a few generations of larger startups spitting out experienced security experts, notable funding rounds into the sector, and a lot of action at the hackathon and accelerator-incubator level.”

Aigar Käis, the Head of Security at Telia Estonia stated that: “Every day we hear of some news that there was a data leak or a technical vulnerability was used to take over systems of enterprises. People have lost their personal data and enterprises have lost the trust of their customers. The amount of data our actions produce is growing ever more rapidly and needs new methods and approaches to be analyzed effectively so we can benefit from it by discovering fraudulent activities in a timely manner.”

Egita Polanska, our lead mentor from Startup Wise Guys said that: “Cybersecurity is becoming a very crucial subject in recent years, and not only for the big corporates but also for individuals in their daily lives. Especially now when there is a lot of information floating around in social media, it is extremely important to raise the general awareness about cybersecurity, risks and increase the knowledge on this topic.”

So, the timing has never been more accurate to make an impact in the cybersecurity sphere and popularize the topic in general. Compared to the other hackathons we have done before, our mission with this one was definitely to go even further with the support for the teams during and after the hackathon.

“Online hackathon format along with all the excellent mentors allows teams to really focus on building and have the needed help if required. But we do not stop with the hackathon. Our team is more than happy to help the founders to grow also after the event.” - Marily Hendrikson, Cyber Security Project Lead at Startup Estonia

16 teams started their hackathon journey on Friday

“It’s really great to see so many focused and talented people working on ideas that are meant to maintain, develop, and advance trust in our society. For me personally, the hackathon was a really refreshing event full of great ideas that tackled security challenges in a new and interesting way.” - Aigar Käis, Head of Security at Telia Estonia

When talking to mentors, we learned that all of them agreed that this hackathon showed high potential among participants. The teams were very focused and really used the possibilities to talk with the experts who had joined us as mentors, to progress and skyrocket their idea.

“Having been mentoring previously in the Cyber Security hackathons, I can say that this time the challenges that the teams tackled were much more relevant and solvable. I also believe that the online format gave them extra motivation and possibilities to work smarter and better, although they needed to adapt to so many technology platforms.” - Peeter Marvet, Chief Poltergeist Officer at Zone.

The competition was tough, so big applause for the winning teams chosen by the jury. And remember, the real winners are the teams that keep working on their ideas and are alive and kicking a year from now! If you didn’t get an award here, prove the jury wrong by working hard and showing them that you have what it takes.

OVERALL WINNERS and WINNERS OF THE SENTINEL AND ACCELERATE ESTONIA CHALLENGE: Team Signed Tweets / - A web app that let’s acclaimed and trusted individuals attach a signature to their tweet, so whenever someone reads their tweet, they can verify that it's really the individual who wrote the tweet. This helps to avoid conflicts between social groups, or general panic.

The team got awarded with a 5000€ monetary prize from Sentinel and Accelerate Estonia, a place in the Startup Wise Guys online pre-accelerator, and a place in the NjordLab program.

1ST RUNNER UP: Team SIM x GDPR - A tutorial game in English and Baltic languages that will have several versions of GDPR indecent simulations. Employees can play a new game each month and be regularly trained in GDPR awareness. The game will have a dashboard where an employer can see the progress of each employee and can print the necessary reports in case data protection requests them to prove compliance.

The team got awarded with a 1000€ monetary prize from Sentinel and a place in the Startup Wise Guys online pre-accelerator.

2ND RUNNER UP: Team Stardust - An app that holds a user’s digital data profile aka all the personal data and a browser extension that automatically fills out a signup form using the data from the digital profile.

The team got awarded a 1000€ monetary prize from Sentinel.

TELIA CHALLENGE WINNER: Team CybelFee - A landing page with interactive animation and chatbot, to solve cyber bullying and lack of awareness amongst children in primary school. The solution provides an interactive animation with educational materials and easier access to specialists with chatbot.

AJUJAHT PRIZE / automatic place in the TOP 100: Team Konnect - Building a custom-tailored VPN service that is able to fire up the captive portal upon new client sessions. Via Captive portal, you have to authenticate yourself via mID, smartID, ID-Card, or other SSO services.

RANGEFORCE SPECIAL PRIZE / 6-month free access to the CyberSkills training platform: Team CyberWise - An application that allows users to upload log files and get an overview of what is malicious traffic and what other risk factors they are dealing with.

Best Enterprise Award by Zone: Team Data access management - Data lifecycle and access management system that decreases the risks related to data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity by increasing transparency of data ownership and consumption inside of the organization.

The team got awarded a one-year server hosting and EU domain registration and cool t-shirts designed by Peeter Marvet himself.

Other teams who participated in the hackathon: 

  1. Team NetSepio - a browser extension that allows users to vote for a domain categorizing it into various categories in order to get insights on the safe and harmful websites/domains they browse. 
  2. Team CATchy - device/asset management based on add-on hardware.
  3. Team Dreamteam - DeepFake video detection service.
  4. Team CyberBoxer - a web browser extension that interprets the privacy page and decodes legal language into clearly classified terms every time and for every website you visit.
  5. Team Steezy - a website that in the future should be the face of an online platform for security and privacy advice.
  6. Team Apollon - helping governments and organizations to monitor social media presence for effective crisis communication by providing them with a practical tool that helps them to monitor social media.
  7. Team Mental Breakdown - an educational platform to replace electromagnetic waves communication with sound waves and showcase how accessible and fun the study can be.
  8. Team QuantGuard - service for the secure transmission of confidential information through classic open channels - messengers and mail client: you create a personal anchor of your file in one click and send it directly to a person or group of persons, who has access to it.
  9. Team YourSecurityBot - browser extension with AI backend that analyzes agreements.

Virtual high-five for the people who helped to make it happen

A huge thank you goes out to all the mentors who joined us in the comfort of their own homes and dedicated their weekend to help the teams with their extensive knowledge in cybersecurity, business models, marketing, UX/UI design, and technical development. Thank you and a virtual hug to our Super Dream Team - Alexander Nolte and Alo Peets from the University of Tartu, Farid Singh and Egita Polanska from Startup Wise Guys, Oliver Sild from WebARX, Triin Mahlakõiv from Rangeforce, Johannes Tammekänd from Sentinel, Madis Vaikmaa from the European External Action Service, Siim Teller from Lemonade Stand, Elo Võrk and Aigar Käis from Telia Estonia, Chris Robbins and Janek Jaago from Tele2 Estonia, Silja Elunurm and Henrik Link from NjordLaw, Lauri Tankler from Estonian Information Authority, Madis Lehtmets from Remato, Birgit Suuder from Pipedrive, Peeter Marvet from Zone, Aarthi Krishna from BT Europe, Yakup Güneyli from Swedbank Estonia, and Siim Kumpas from the Government Office of Estonia. Also, a virtual high five for Harri Tallinn from Ajujaht, joining us as a jury member.

We could not have done this without the organizing team from Garage48 - Merit, Darja, Helena, and Joao! Merci to Marily, Sander, and Markus from Startup Estonia, Piret, Henry, and Anni from the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu and Raido from MindMedia. You all rock!

All of the cybersecurity enthusiasts - thank you for joining us for this weekend! See you next year for the 5th-anniversary event of the Cyber Security Hackathon. And who knows - maybe you can join us for a hybrid event!

Don’t forget to rewatch the final LIVE and award ceremony!

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