The Biggest CTF of 2021

October being the annual cybersecurity awareness month, it is highly anticipated by cyber security enthusiasts globally and most importantly, Kenyans. This article is a recap of the on-goings in the cybersecurity arena so far. This is a month that has seen lots of things to deal with cybersecurity flagged almost everywhere starting from security conferences, CTFs, free online security courses and giveaways being distributed all over online.

As of the date in this article, we have seen a lot of action in cybersecurity. We have had Shehacks_ke hold their annual hackfest, in a series of weekly webinars by hosts from around the world. Due to the pandemic, the conference was held virtually. The hackfest also includes a CTF that runs during the last week of October.



The other major event that took place was the Africahackon annual conference, being held virtually as well. The conference this year included a capture the flag competition, hosted by yours truly, Cyberspace Kenya. The preliminary round saw 91 teams register. Only 58 teams(which was way above expectation) were eligible to participate in the competition. This year, there were a large number of foreign teams (8) in the preliminary round, which was a good sign that ctfroom is starting to go global. The preliminary round was held on the 16th of October, 2021 from 6 p.m to 6 a.m EAT, a night vigil of some sort. As only the top 10 teams were advancing to the finals to be held on the 5th of November in a physical location, It was a tightly contested competition.

The CTF challenges consisted of five categories; web, reverse engineering, OSINT, Forensics and Windows challenges. The reverse engineering, one web challenge, “bug hunter” and windows challenges were particularly challenging for the participants as no team got to solve them. That gives the qualified teams a lot to think about and insight on how to prepare for the finals next month.

A team from Turkey, “Batata” held the lead throughout the 12 hours and eventually finished first. Notably, a Tanzanian team, “UDOM Cyber Club” and two other guest teams made the top 10. This meant that there were 6 local teams and 4 guest teams that will participate in the finals.

Africahackon CTF Quals leaderboard.

Preparations for the finals have already begun and it will be an interesting match up for all the teams as the number one Kenyan CTF team, “fr334aks” will be looking to reclaim their top spot. The finals will be held at a physical location in Nairobi, Kenya where the six local teams and the 4 guest teams(remote) will battle it out to claim the number one spot. Stay tuned for more updates.

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