Friday, October 16, 2009

Hack-In-The-Box Security Conference 2009

The IT Security Competition: Weapons of Mass Destruction

15 Oct 2009 - "The Capture-The-Flag (CtF) competition at the Hack-In-The-Box (HITB) Security Conference was held on 7th and 8th October 2009 at the Crowne Plaza Mutiaria Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Nine teams from seven countries, namely, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and USA, participated in this highly popular team-based IT security competition.

Seven students from the Diploma in Infocomm Security Management (DISM) participated in the CtF competition. It was truly an enriching experience as our student team was competing against seasoned IT security professional teams. It was like a David-and-Goliath competition. Undaunted by their more experienced competitors, our students fought tooth and nail and tried to apply what they have learnt in their DISM course. After two days of defensive and offensive game plays, our team was ranked 5th out of the nine teams, ahead of Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and one of the Korean teams.

This year, the theme of the game was entitled as “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” The main idea behind this competition was to allow the participating teams to gain access into prepared computer servers (representing a country) in order to retrieve marked files or flags (representing warheads) on these target machines. Participants would also be required to defend their systems from attack. Teams would be judged on both their defensive as well as the offensive game plays.

Through this CtF competition, our students were able to measure how far they have advanced in their IT security knowledge and skills. Said Md Daniel Bin Hamid, a 2nd year DISM student, "The CtF competition exposed the students to how application programs can be cracked and the knowledge required to perform reverse engineering on daemon programs to capture the flag. All in all, it was a wonderful and exciting experience.”

Another DISM student, M Rubern Chakravarthi, commented on his experience gained, “I learnt more about my classmates and their capabilities in an environment outside the classroom.”

For our students, It was indeed a valuable learning experience in the CtF competition.