For 48 hours this week, several COINS students formed a team to compete with 707 teams from all over the world in a contest in applied information security (hack.lu CTF). The goal of this “Capture the flag” competition in information security was to solve several practical information security challenges, comprising web application vulnerabilities, QR codes, reverse engineering, elliptic curve cryptography, and more.
Competition was fierce. Many of the teams had experience from similar competitions and focus on applied IT security in their daily business. Students in COINS mainly deal with fundamental information security, e.g. access control, authentication, biometrics, cryptography, and a bunch works on security management. Few actually work on research that fosters the skills needed in a CTF competition. Nevertheless, brave COINS students set up a team and set Norwegian Ph.D. research on the map. Students from the Swedish SWITS network had been invited and extended the COINS team virtually. Competition started Tuesday morning and was completed Thursday morning.
The COINS team finished with rank 176 based on the score for challenges solved. 708 teams participated worldwide, 413 of them scored more than 0 points. This means that COINS came out in the top 43% of all active teams. HiG, consortium member of COINS, had a separate team for bachelor/master students and that team turned out to be the best team in Norway, with COINS taking a 3rd position nationally. The overall showing was promising for a small team that had not worked together before, and we look forward to participation of a larger and stronger COINS team at a CTF competition next year.
Students considered the activity to be fun and a rich learning experience.
Thanks to all who supported the event.