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photo: UCSB iCTF ICS team

Graduate students from the SPROUT (Security & Privacy Research OUTfit) and SSLLAB (Secure Systems & Software Laboratory) research groups at UCI collaborated as a team, called KHCZUU Labs, to participate in this year’s UC Santa Barbara International Capture The Flag (iCTF) competition. The iCTF contest is an annual competition where academic teams pit their skills at cyber attacks and defenses against each other. In security capture-the-flag events, the teams compete to try to find vulnerabilities in programs provided by the organizers and hack other teams to steal “flags,” while defending their own flags. CTF events provide a realistic but safe environment to learn and practice how real-world computer security works.

Even though most of the UCI team members were new to the competition, KHCZUU still managed to place third out of the U.S. teams and 31st overall, out of nearly 100 participating teams. “The whole team is looking forward to next year’s competition and plans to practice the necessary computer security skills in the meantime,” says UCI Ph.D. candidate Stephen Crane. “For most on the team, this was their first experience with capture-the-flag-style competitions, and the competition was an amazing learning experience for everyone who participated.”

Congratulations to everyone who competed on this year’s KHCZUU team: Brian Belleville, Stephen Crane, Sky Faber, Cesar Ghali, Julian Lettner, Ekin Oguz, Mohaned Qunaibit, Marc Schlosberg, and Stijn Volckaert (visiting scholar from Ghent University).

Watch a time-lapse video of the competition here.