Seventh Annual Wheeler Lecture

We are pleased to announce that the Wheeler Lecture for 2018 will be given on Wednesday 30th May by Prof. Stephen Pulman. The title of the lecture is Language, learning and creativity. More information is available, and is now open.

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Michael Schaarschmidt awarded 2018 Google PhD Fellowship

Michael Schaarschmidt has been awarded a 2018 Google PhD Fellowship. Michael is a member of the Systems Research Group under the supervision of Dr Eiko Yoneki.

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New Ubuntu 18.04 LTS slogin-new test server

A new Ubuntu 18.04 LTS server is now available, available via the service name slogin-new and slogin. To ensure that the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS server is used, connect to slogin. Comments to sys-admin please.

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Cambridge Computer Laboratory hosts Inter-ACE cyber security challenge

More than 130 students representing 18 of the UK’s top cybersecurity universities battled it out at the Inter-ACE 2018 cyber security challenge, hosted at the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

The competition, supported by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, and designed to attract the next generation of cyber security talent took place over two days on the 16th and 17th of March 2018.

The victorious team from the University of Edinburgh won the top prize of £6,000, with second place going to the University of Southampton and Imperial College London taking home bronze.

The winners will now compete with the best of the USA at C2C –‘Cambridge2Cambridge’, a transatlantic contest jointly organised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Cambridge to be held between the 29th of June and 1st of July 2018 at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Now in its third year, Inter-ACE was established to help resolve the vast and growing cyber security skills gap, with an estimated shortfall of 1.8m workers worldwide by 2022[1]. Inter-ACE aims to inspire young tech enthusiasts into the cyber security sector, while also honing the skills of those who already have a strong aptitude for ethical hacking and helping them meet like-minded individuals and potential employers.

Professor Frank Stajano, Founder of Inter-ACE and Professor of Security and Privacy at the Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge, said: “It’s no secret that the cyber security industry is suffering from a large and growing skills gap. We must do more to attract a more diverse pool of talent into the field. This is about demonstrating that careers in cyber security not only help to keep your country, your friends and your family safe, but are varied, valued and most of all fun.

“There is still much more to be achieved, but I have been delighted over the last three years to be welcoming a growing number of female participants and contestants from increasingly diverse backgrounds to the two-day competition. We had 18 women competing this year, as opposed to just two when we started! It’s working. There is no set profile for a cyber security professional and Inter-ACE contributes to reaching more people with that important message”.

Nick L, a student from the winning team at the University of Edinburgh said “For people out there thinking about getting into cyber security and sitting on the fence, get yourself into a cyber security competition. Chances are the first one might not go so great, but you’ll get there and learn a lot. That’s exactly how we started out”.

Inter-ACE 2018 involved a number of different scenarios, including preventing a hack on a UK city’s infrastructure and a tap on an undersea communications cable. Connected devices such as a children’s toy were also used to demonstrate the impact of hacking techniques. The two-day event featured over 20 challenges in total, set by experts from the University of Cambridge and sponsors including Context IS and Palo Alto Networks.

Established through the UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy and supported by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, Inter-ACE is sponsored by Microsoft, BT, Palo Alto and Context IS.

The 18 universities that participated in this year’s Inter-ACE were Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Birmingham, the University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, De Montfort University, the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Imperial College London, the University of Kent, Lancaster University, Newcastle University, the University of Oxford, Royal Holloway University of London, the University of Southampton, the University of Surrey, University College London, the University of Warwick and the University of York.

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Start of change of default domain on Linux systems

The department is moving from the ‘AD’ domain to the ‘DC’ domain. Linux systems use the DNS to decide which the default should be if none is given. We shall be moving certyain test hosts over to DC in the vulnereable period on Tues 20th Feb, and depending how things go, at later vulnereable or non-vulnerable periods.

Use ‘klist’ to see what your Default principal is. You can force kinit to use a particular domain, e.g. ‘kinit pb22@AD.CL.CAM.AC.UK‘.

Please reporet any problems to sys-admin.

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Server Room Cooling Failure

Overnight between the 27th and 28th of February the building cooling failed. This was due to the pipes on the roof freezing due to very low temperatures. Emergency actions was taken at in the middle of the night to shut down enough machines to prevent a total outage of core services. The cooler has now been inspected and declared beyond repair. This is because it had no anti-freeze in the circuit.

We now have some temporary coolers installed and are monitoring their efficiency. However, please contact sys-admin before turning on additional servers.

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New Remote Desktop Service

The previous remote access Windows machines ts01 and ts02 have now been retired. In their place is a newer version running on Windows Server 2016. The local unix command cl-rdesktop has been updated to point to this service. To login you must authenticate against the DC domain either by quoting your identifier as DC\crsid or as just crsid. Windows or MacOS users should connect to to access the new servers.

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Problem with new VPN certificate corrected

Some people using the VPN service at may have been experiencing difficulties since the server certficate was updated on 2018-02-13. We issued a warning applicable to Windows users, but we forgot to point out that some Linux and Android clients require a local copy of the server certificate to verify.

Even if you worked this out for yourself, the problem was compounded by the UIS forgetting to update the downloadable copy of the certificate, so even if you refreshed it, it would not have helped. This oversight has now been corrected.

If you are running a VPN client which needs a local copy of the server certificate for, please download a new copy using the link on the page:

and install it in the same way as you originally did.

If your VPN connections are currently working, there is no need to do anything.

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SE18 due to be cleared by 1 June 2018

The deadline for moving equipment out of SE18 has been set to the 1st June 2018. The removal of the air-conditioning has been arranged to start them.

Anyone with any equipment remaining in that room will need to ensure that it is relocated ahead of that date.

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ely reboot in vulnerable period 28th Feb

This reboot is necessary to complete the installation of some security updates. Apologies for missing the reboot on the earlier advertised date.

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