Event news

Open ethical hacking competitions were held at the EXPOFORUM

The winner of the open ethical hacking competitions organized by ITMO University as part of the second day of the Exhibition “EXPOTECHNOSTRAZH. The Day of Advanced Technologies” at the ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre, was the first-year ITMO undergraduate student in the area “Information Security” Vadim Mugalimov.

Ethical hacking competitions, or CTF (which stands for capture the flag), is rather young, but already very popular intellectual game among information security specialists. During the competition, participants or teams find solutions for practical problems in the field of information security (IS), searching for and using vulnerabilities in special infrastructures. For the tasks completed, participants receive “flags” — the set of valuable information, surrounded by vulnerabilities. The competitions are also interesting for viewers, because they can see every action of the participants on the big screen.

Nine types of competitions are the most popular among CTF teams. This time, the organizers chose the spectacular “battle” format, or the one-on-one battle: pairs of participants solve the same task for time, and the winner is the one who will cope with the task faster.

Seven people took part in the competition, among whom were both ITMO students and visitors to the Exhibition “EXPOTECHNOSTRAZH.” The greatest number of victories was won by Vadim Mugalimov, a first-year undergraduate student of ITMO University in the area of “Information Security.” He turned out to be faster than his rivals in tasks on web application security, steganography (the method of secret transmission of information) and computer forensics.

“The tasks were selected so that they could be solved quickly. This was the feature of the competition, because sometimes it takes several days to solve problems of this kind. In general, the tasks did not seem difficult to me,” the winner shared his impressions.

Vadim is a regular and experienced participant of CTF, the “white hackers” competitions, and the captain of the team he recruited. According to him, participation in these events is not only interesting, but also useful for young professionals in terms of future employment. “Even now, employers indicate participation in CTF as an alternative to work experience in the requirements for a candidate,” Vadim explained.

According to ITMO University, in 2022, cybersecurity specialists were in great demand in the labour market: over 100 thousand companies looked for them.

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