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Student cyber entrepreneurs announce HackBack2


Two young cyber security entrepreneurs are running their second HackBack virtual Capture the Flag (CTF) competition for teams from UK Universities. Ben Spring and Ashu Savani, who met as students during an internship at Context Information Security, developed the TryHackMe interactive platform to make it easier for students and other newcomers to learn cyber security skills.

The HackBack2 event on 26 October (, which is exclusively sponsored by Context, already has 21 universities signed up. The teams of up to four people will access the TryHackMe platform remotely and will be able to select from six categories of cyber security challenges designed for all skill levels. The team with the most points will win the competition. HackBack2 will have an additional prize of £1,000 sponsored by Context for the team fielding the most female students, in a drive to improve gender equality in the cyber security industry.

The TryHackMe duo recognised that the cyber security learning space was fragmented and existing solutions offered no prior guidance and focused purely on self-learning. Ben and Ashu set out to fill this gap by creating their own virtual platform that allows users to learn fundamental concepts in cyber security that can be applied to real-world scenarios. Over 80 public courses are available through virtual TryHackMe rooms and the community is fast-growing.

The showcase HackBack CTF competition is designed to raise awareness about cyber security and to encourage more people to gain beginner-level experience. The inaugural event in March attracted over 200 participants from 16 universities.

“We hope that TryHackMe will be used by universities and companies around the world to attract and train more people for careers in cyber-security. TryHackMe is also being white-labelled and integrated into other training solutions to provide a practical element for security courses,” said Spring.

Spring is now in the final year of university studying Computer Science whilst Savani has just finished a Computer Science degree at UCL and is now working at Context as a Trainee Consultant.

“Ben and Ashu are inspirational and have used their own skills and experiences to fill a gap they identified in the market to create a great teaching and learning platform,” said Mark Raeburn, CEO at Context. “For HackBack2, we are particularly delighted to be able to provide an additional £1,000 prize to encourage more talented women into the industry to help fill the critical cyber security skills gap. The prize will be made as a donation to the university department or society.”

[Image credit: Brooke Cagle for Unsplash]

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