Hacking for Security

The iCTF hacking contest taking place since 2003 at the University of Santa Barbara. 88 teams from all over the world joined this year’s competition, the team “We_0Wn_Y0u”, consisting of teachers and students of TU Vienna finished third.

“The Capture-the-Flag-Contest is about intruding in other teams’ servers and protecting your own server at the same time”, explains Markus Kammerstetter, head of iSecLab Security-Labs (Automation Systems Group) at TU Vienna. All teams were assigned their servers on Friday evening and had to start to search for possible security flaws immediately to protect their own servers and attack others. “Such competitions are not just games, they are a great opportunity for the best of our 400 students to apply the knowledge they gained from our courses on ‘Internet Security’ and ‘Advanced Internet Security'”, says Kammerstetter. “If security is at stake, you need a lot of knowhow, you need to keep track of a lot of details, and sometime you need to be really fast.”

The team of TU Vienna joined the competitin already for the seventh time and always ended up at least among the top five. Two times (2006 and 2011) the team won the competition and qualified for the DefCon CTF contest in Las Vegas, which is considered as the worlds’ most difficult hacker contest.

Kammerstetter: “We’re very happy that we made it again. Internet security is an exciting research area, and it’s very important for the industry. With our success, we prove that we educate excellent students who can apply their knowledge practically. For the future, I wish that we can continues this – and that the funding for our research and teaching improves…”


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