HSE Students Hold Information Security Competition
Competitions in information security were organized at HSE by the student group, HSE InfoSec, with the support of FBK CyberSecurity and the Student Initiative Support Centre. They were run in CTF format.
What is CTF
First and foremost, CTF (Capture The Flag) is a computer game where players from different teams must defend their own flag and try to capture the enemy’s. Information security specialists consider this game to be very similar to their work: they need to protect their own data, while identifying and removing ‘enemy’ data. CTFs were thus created in the realm of Information Security. These CTFs also involve two teams fighting for flags - a sequence of symbols that need to be found and which is then sent to the judges. The competition took place in task-based format. CTF players are given a set of tasks which they have to solve and they then send the answer to a scoreboard. The participant receives a certain number of points for the right answer. The more difficult the task, the more points are earned for a correct answer.
All the tasks in a CTF competition can be divided into several categories. For example, these are tasks in administration, cryptography and steganography, programming, reverse engineering, tasks for identifying web vulnerabilities, and ‘joy’ tasks, that is, entertaining tasks dealing with various topics.
Where did the idea for Summer CTF come from?
In February, a new student organization, HSE InfoSec, was formed at the Higher School of Economics. The group invited experts from PwC to give lectures at HSE and other universities on information security. At the lectures, Senior Consultant at the Cybersecurity Department at PwC, Vitaliy Malkin, spoke about web vulnerability, building networks, and other current topics. At the end of the course, the group decided to hold a competition to test students’ skills.
The event was organized by third-year students at HSE, Andrey Skuratov, Sergey Migalin, Matvei Levinson and Sergey Kuzminov. Another student organization, HSE CTF, helped to prepare the tasks.
How it went
The competition was face-to-face and on an individual basis. It took place in the HSE building on Kirpichnaya Street and 80 people registered. Participants were able to improve their skills in the field of information security and get to know like-minded people at the same time. What’s more, the top 10 participants won valuable prizes.
The overall winner of the CTF was Ilya Grekov, a prospective HSE student. ‘The event was great, I liked the complex tasks. I will definitely come to the next one’, he said.
In second and third place were students from Bauman MSTU, Ilya Shaposhnikov and Andrei Levkin. More prizes were awarded to several other participants.
According to Head of HSE InfoSec, Sergey Kuzminov, CTF competitions will be held on a regular basis.