APU Cyber Security Teams Top the Charts at PETRONAS CTF 2023 | Asia Pacific University (APU)

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APU Cyber Security Teams Top the Charts at PETRONAS CTF 2023

Team OnlyFeets, first-place winners, and team HC4, second runner-up, accomplished an outstanding feat with unwavering support from APU, actively participating in the CTF competition.

Capture the Flag (CTF) competitions are thrilling tests of ingenuity and skill that can give students real-world experience and make their resumes stand out.

Participants must think outside the box and leverage their knowledge of cryptography, network security, and reverse engineering to solve complex cyber security puzzles.

By engaging in CTF challenges, students can learn how to use these abilities in real-life situations and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills that are valuable assets in any career.

Progressively, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) sent 12 teams to participate in the PETRONAS Inter-University Capture the Flag (CTF) Challenge 2023, with six of them making it to the grad final on 10 October 2023.

The competition is held during Global Cyber Security Month, which is celebrated annually in October.

This global event raises awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and encourages individuals and organisations to take steps to protect themselves online.

OnlyFeets, a team of Cyber Security and Information & Communication Technology with a specialism in Software Engineering students; Chang Shiau Huei, Lim Wei Xun, Damien Wong Shan Ming, and Wesley Wong Kee Han, took the top prize in the CTF competition.

From left: Damien Wong Shan Ming, Lim Wei Xun, Chang Shiau Huei, and Wesley Wong Kee Han, with their trophy and a mock cheque worth RM8,000.

“It takes time and effort to master a new skill, but with patience and perseverance, anything is possible,” said Shiau Huei on behalf of OnlyFeets.

She described the PETRONAS Inter-University CTF Challenge 2023 as one of the most difficult CTF competitions in which they had ever competed.

“The difficulty of this competition made us focus more, better understand each other’s weaknesses, and finally be able to help each other improve and share the four of us’ skills and abilities.”

Meanwhile, team HC4, a team of Cyber Security and Digital Forensics students; Danisy Eisyraf Yusni Afindi, Chen Lik Ken, Wong Zhi Zhen, and Darrshan Rajenderan took second runner-up.

With experience in major CTF competitions like Siber Siaga 2022 and 2023, they were able to assess their strengths and weaknesses and focus on the challenge categories they excelled in, such as web exploitation, forensics, and binary.

“We loved the realism of the challenges,” said Danisy Eisyraf, representing team HC4 while added that “They were like hacking into a real-world program, but far more difficult than anything we learned in our module courses.”

“It was like a more technical and refined version, and it helped us to practice what we have learned in a more advanced way.”

APU team is staying calm and focused while warming up properly, and they can already see themselves winning this competition.

Remarkably, both winning teams were linked with the APU Forensics and Cyber Security Research Centre - Student Section (FSeC-SS), and they were all mentored by FSeC-SS advisers, Ms. Nor Azlina Abdul Rahman and Ms. Noris Ismail.

This outstanding achievement was made possible by the continuous support of CTF modules lecturers, Mr. Mohd Hanis Jenalis and Mr. Shahab Alizadeh, as well as Ts. Dr. Vinesha Selvarajah from the School of Technology (SoT), who consistently encourage and guide APU students to actively participate in the CTF competition.

The APU community is immensely proud of the two teams’ outstanding achievement in the PETRONAS CTF 2023 competition.

Their achievement demonstrates the calibre of APU’s Cyber Security, Digital Forensics, Information & Communication Technology with a specialism in Software Engineering programme as well as the dedication of its faculty and students.