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27 April 2020

Russia wins the international ethical hacking competition CTFZone 2020

The international CTFZone 2020 ethical hacking competition finals were organised and held by BI.ZONE on April 25-26.

CTF (Capture The Flag) is a tournament where teams tackle practical problems in the field of cybersecurity in order to get a unique sequence of characters — the ‘flag’. The largest of these tournaments is DEF CON CTF with its 30-year history of being held in Las Vegas. Currently, the world knows of only six cybersecurity tournaments through which to qualify for the DEF CON finals, and CTFZone is one of them. This means that the team to win the CTFZone finals automatically gets a pass to the event in Vegas.

The top ten teams from Russia, China, Italy, the USA, Poland and Japan went on to the CTFZone 2020 finals after making it through the playoffs back in November, which had more than 1000 teams from 84 countries taking part. Six of these teams are in fact rated among the ten best teams in the world, according to CTFtime — the international ranking of CTF contestants.

The final was held online and was played out as an Attack/Defense campaign: each team received a dedicated server or a small network to ensure its security and maintain its functionality. During the game, the teams could score points if they were able to keep their services working correctly and by stealing flags from the servers of their opponents. In order to quickly detect and take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the opponents’ services and, at the same time, stay on guard for attacks against their own infrastructure, participants had to be well-versed in a range of fields: from web application security to applied cryptography and reverse engineering.

BI.ZONE organised 24-hour user support for the duration of the tournament: dedicated online chat with quick response and system performance maintenance. By the end of the exhausting struggle, the prize pool of $18,000 was shared between the teams coming in the top-three from Russia and China. The team from Russia to win first place is now also eligible for the DEF CON CTF finals.

‘The organisation of CTFZone is always a challenge that we approach with utmost care and responsibility. We always strive to deliver smooth operations of our infrastructure. This year, we came up with some additions to the classic services: a task related to the security of mobile platforms and a service with visualisation. The teams could see in real time how the algorithms they had written attacked each other and thus determine which is the more effective one. Such services are novel to a classic CTF competition, and many participants noted that this made the competition especially interesting’ comments CSO of BI.ZONE Evgeny Voloshin.

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