Sunday, October 30, 2011

HitB 2011 - Tower of Hackf00 Madness CtF Competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Learning journey shared by: Jeremy Heng (DISM 2B01)

It was a fitting end to the semestral break this October when 10 students from the Diploma in Infocomm Security Management (DISM) spent their last week of their holidays in Kuala Lumpur pitting their hacking skills against security professionals and enthusiasts from all around the globe, where teams came from places as far off as the Netherlands. The Hack-in-the-Box KUL Conference (at the Hotel Intercontinental) was host to the Tower of Hackf00 Madness Attack-Only Capture the Flag Hacking Competition where participants had to retrieve 'flags' by successfully completing a number of challenges from various problem domains such as Cryptography or Reverse Engineering.

The students formed two teams of three each: π and Lepak for the competition that was held over two days, spanning a total of 31 hours and ran without interruption except for a two-hour maintainance pit-stop. It was a gruelling experience indeed for everyone involved; sleep was a short and valued commodity.

On the first day of the trip, the students established their residences and checked out the competition area, with intent to familiarise themselves in preparation for the event the very next day. They turned in early, getting that much needed rest for what was to come.

Early next morning, the team made their way to the competition venue, armed with the necessary hardware. Before the competion started, the organisers gave a briefing on the rules for the CtF and from there, it began. Both teams leapt onto the scoreboard bearing points within the first 8 hours, solving the easy bin challenge. As the skies darkened, the competition arena started to empty. Most of the competing teams chose to rest. Eventually, only the Japanese team (Sutegoma2), the Vietnamese team (D3c3p71c0n), and both DISM teams remained. They spent the whole night and morning working furiously throughout.

On the second day of the challenge, π managed to clinch one more challenge (1337 racer) just in time to see itself gain 8th placing on the scoreboard when the time ran out. Lepak stood at 10th.

While the π and Lepak agreed that they might not gotten as great as a placing they would like, it was definitely an eye-opening experience for the 7 year twos and the 3 year threes. Many lessons were learnt during the trip, and it is certain, it has changed them.

Students eagerly anticipating the journey towards Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Awaiting to set up in the hotel rooms.

Discussing plans for the competition the next day.

Inspection and checks of the equipment the night before the competition.

Capture the Flag: Tower of Hackf00 Madness.

Team Pi

Team Lepak

The scores halfway through the competition.

The competition persisted through the night.

A handful of teams stayed on overnight, including Teams Pi and Lepak.

Solving a challenge.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Preparation for Capture The Flag Competition in HITB 2011

Over the past few weeks, a group of DISM students have undergone a series of intensive training courses in preparation for the upcoming Capture The Flag hacking competition which is a part of the Hack In The Box security conference 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On 7th Oct, the teams once again gathered together for the final briefing and meeting session. DISM lecturers stressed the utmost importance of staying safe during the trip as well as several other important points to note.

Lecturer Mr. Dennis Wong briefing on safety precautions.

Year 2 students thrilled about their first competition adventure.

Students later went through issues such as grouping, logistics as well as software tools to use, and they also had an ardent and prolonged discussion on the strategies and tactics to adopt during the competition.

Participants earnestly planning out their in-game strategies.

Year 3 student Barnabus Tan is the treasurer in charge of fees.

Capture The Flag – Tower of Hackf00 Madness, is an attack only competition bringing a variety of challenges requiring participants to have a myriad of skills... Over a period of two (2) days, participants of the game will be tested on various subjects. Teams are expected to be well versed in subjects such as binary reversing, cryptography, digital forensics, network f00, web exploitation, and brain busting puzzle solving skills. [from conference.hitb.org]

This year DISM has sent out two teams, namely PI and Lepak. They will leave in the morning on next Tuesday (11st Oct) and are expected to return on next Friday (14th Oct). Let us wish them all the best in their journey!