AWSN Incident Response Competition 2022

7-14 November 2022
Register now

31 October 2022 at 11:10pm AEST - We are no longer accepting registrations to our waitlist. Good luck to all participants!


Retrospect Labs and the Australian Women in Security Network have partnered again to provide a competition style incident response exercise for women working, studying, and interested in the cyber security sector across Australia. The competition is an exciting and fun way for you to use both your technical and professional skills to work through a realistic cyber incident - in a self-paced way - over a week. You will be placed into a team of up to five people (all with mixed skillsets) to work through the fictitious incident, completing tasks along the way. At the conclusion of the event, there will be a judging panel, with the winning team announced and prizes for those teams who place in the top three!

This competition could not have happened without the support from the event’s sponsors, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), and the Commonwealth Bank (CBA).

Note: This is a brand-new scenario and competition, so those who have previously participated in a competition provided by Retrospect Labs, can get involved and participate in this new competition.

What does this competition involve?

For one week, starting on the Monday 7th November 2022, participants will work their way through a scenario that simulates a real-world cyber incident, impacting a fictitious organisation. The scenario is designed to test your incident response skills, and so it includes several aspects common to incident response. For example, the exercise will include forensic artefacts that participants can analyse to identify various Indicators of Compromise (IoCs), as well as understand what malicious activities have occurred and how the adversary undertook those activities (their Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures used). Participants will also be required to perform tasks that relate to managing the media, providing communications to senior leadership, and providing legal and privacy considerations in response to the incident. If you have an interest or skillset in these areas, you will also fit great into a team!

Throughout the exercise, teams will submit their answers to tasks common to incident response activities. These answers will be read by a panel of expert judges, who will then evaluate the performance of each team. Based on their evaluations, the winning team will be announced at a hybrid online/in-person closing ceremony!

Not only will the winning team earn the title Winner of the 2022 AWSN Incident Response Competition, but there are also some awesome prizes up for grabs!

When is it?

Competition official opening – Monday 7th November 2022 at 9am (AEST)

Competition official close – Monday 14th November 2022 at 5pm (AEST)

Closing Ceremony & Panel EventDate to be confirmed.

Who's this for?

Anyone in Australia who identifies as a woman and is working in cyber, studying a related degree, or interested in learning more about incident response and have some basic cyber skills or knowledge, we encourage you to register and to give it a go!

It would be beneficial to have some SOC/Incident Response skills (some familiarity with common incident response tools or incident response frameworks). However, you do not need to have these technical skills to participate in a team.  

Competitors can also request for a mentor to assist you throughout the competition. And, because it is self-paced, we also encourage participants to spend time researching and to use their problem-solving skills. We don’t expect you to know everything about incident response, but we want you to want to learn along the way, find out what you do enjoy about IR, and get excited about it!  


It is free to register and compete in this competition!

To make this competition as fair as possible, teams will be made up of women based on their individual, self-identified strengths. You register as an individual, where you will be asked to answer a few questions that will give us an understanding of your experience. This information will be used to put together the teams, so please answer the questions as best as you can! Teams will be made up of women from around Australia – so you might be working in a team with people from a different town, city, or state!

Once you have registered and the teams have been finalised, your team will receive an email with some further information and instructions (note, the email you provide will be shared with your team members). Closer to the competition start date, you will be invited to a Slack channel, which will contain a space for you to communicate with your team, and to receive any communications from the competition organisers during the event.

Please note that places are strictly limited to 250 participants, and that the competition in 2021 was fully booked very quickly! If you’re not successful gaining a place this time round, we will make sure to keep your details in case a space opens up if someone withdraws.

We will have a wait list so if you can no longer participate, please let us know as soon as possible.

Registrations open – September 21st 2022 at 10am (AEST)

Registrations close – October 7th 2022 at 5pm (AEST) – If places are not fully allocated prior.

Link to register - All spots have now filled, and we are no longer accepting registrations to the waitlist.

Later on, your team will be given access to Retrospect Labs cyber security exercise platform, Gauntlet. Gauntlet will be used for distributing the scenario (known as injects), forensic artefacts, and is where you will submit your answers to the tasks.

Case management and collaboration with Cydarm!

Case Management solutions are an important tool in an incident responder’s arsenal, that is used to ensure incident response activities are effectively managed, and tracked throughout an investigation. Cydarm has kindly offered for participants of this year’s competition, to be able to use their case management solution throughout the competition. This will allow you to test out an industry standard solution, used by many real-world incident response teams, as you respond to the realistic incident you will be working through!

For more information on this, please visit:

What else do I need to know?

Participants will be able to control the pace of the exercise and will have the flexibility to compete outside of work hours. You can start the exercise whenever you like, work through it at your own pace – but everything must be completed by 14th November. Participants won't be judged on how long they take to complete the challenge.

Places are limited to 50 teams of up to 5 participants.

Out of respect for the organisers and the judges taking their time to run this competition, we would appreciate it if you let us know if you are no longer able to compete, by sending Retrospect Labs an email ( at least 48 hours beforehand. Thank-you.


Please fill out the form to register for this event. We will be in touch soon once we receive your submitted form.