This 26-year-old went from entering competitions for fun to making it his career – Mothership.SG

As the saying goes, do what you love and you won’t ever have to work a day in your life.

Bryan Phee was a first-year Engineering Science undergraduate when he entered his first capture-the-flag (CTF) cybersecurity competition.

CTF competitions require participants to pit their skills against each other in a battle to complete a challenge or as many challenges as possible within a given amount of time.

“The nature of these CTFs is to use one’s knowledge, resourcefulness and all sorts of creative ways to hunt for flags that are hidden,” shared Phee.

Although he did not win his first challenge, he was hooked.

“It’s like playing detective,” said Phee of what draws him to such competitions, which he has continued to play even after graduation.

Through the competitions, Phee was drawn into the arena of cyber security which inspired him to pursue his further studies and career in the field.

“It started off purely out of interest but reading more about the field of cybersecurity and learning more about its importance made me want to dive deeper into it as a career.”

That impetus drove him to pursue a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and from there, he landed a job at Centre for Strategic Infocomm Technologies (CSIT) as a cybersecurity engineer, a position he has held for the past two years.

CTFs and mobile security threats

“There are really tough CTFs that even Cybersecurity professionals find challenging,” said Phee.

One such CTF is the annual TISC (The InfoSecurity Challenge) organised by CSIT which will be held from Aug. 26 to Sep. 11.

Sharing more about TISC, Phee said, “The whole competition is made up of multiple challenges in increasing order of difficulty. These challenges cover a range of Cybersecurity topics such as Web Pen-testing, Forensics, Reverse Engineering and Mobile Security, just to name a few.”

One of the levels is a challenge on Mobile Security which Phee helped to create.

“Mobile security is something that affects most of us, and yet, not many people really understand enough about it.”

Besides transitioning from competitor to creator, another highlight of Phee’s job at CSIT is that he is…