From the 18th to the 22nd of September 2017, the Capture-the-Flag (CTF) team from St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences travelled to Samara, Russia with five students and two graduates of the study-programmes IT-Security and Information Security. They took part in an international-security competition and thus for the first time set foot on international-CTF ground.
Qualification in March
To qualify for the final, the team played in a 48-hour qualifier in March. Diverse tasks had to be solved from various subject areas such as cryptography, command injection, forensics and reverse engineering. Overall, our team prevailed against 1,024 teams from 77 countries and thus qualified for the final.
Final competition and lectures
In total, 17 teams from Russia, the USA, Portugal, Vietnam and Austria competed against one another. In contrast to the qualification, the final was not about taking advantage of vulnerabilities in programmes on the servers of the organizer (Jeopardy Spieltyp), but rather, all teams attacked one another. Without affecting the proper functionality of the programme and in order to defend themselves, security vulnerabilities had to be closed in their own system. The tasks required, among other things, skills in programming, reverse engineering and cryptography.
The team from St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences achieved ninth place overall and thereby became the best international team. Each team member received a certificate and the team received a cake, which was however, confiscated by Russian customs. In the framework of the final competition there were lectures on various IT-security topics such as POS security, ransomware and hardware security.
In addition to the professional events and the competition, the organisers introduced the team to typical Russian cuisine and chased them through the city during a scavenger hunt. Aside from the actual event, there were also a number of other activities. The team visited tourist attractions such as Fountain Sail - a monument to the soldier Fyodor Sukhov, the riverside promenade on the Volga River and the Cosmos Arena, which is currently under construction for the 2018 football World Cup in Russia.