Team DiceGang wins 2024 LakeCTF, EPFL's cyber security competition

Team DiceGang © 2024 EPFL/Alain Herzog - CC-BY-SA 4.0

Team DiceGang © 2024 EPFL/Alain Herzog - CC-BY-SA 4.0

Ten teams have taken part in the second edition of this jeopardy-style security hacking contest organized by EPFL’s Capture the Flag team, the polygl0ts and the School of Computer and Communication Sciences.

The goal of Capture the Flags or CTFs is to reverse engineer, decrypt and hack into computer systems to capture flags and win points for your team. Prestigious events include the DEFCON CTF in Las Vegas (referencing the U.S. Armed Forces defense readiness condition), considered to be the hacker Olympics, and the China based OCTF, organized by Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University and the Chinese tech company, Tencent.

After a successful inaugural event in 2022, the final of EPFL’s second LakeCTF competition hosted ten teams from around the world, including the United States, Vietnam, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Greece, Malaysia, Romania the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. 80 participants spent eight hours attempting to find text strings, called ‘flags’, secretly hidden in purposefully-vulnerable programs or websites. After eight solid hours of competition the US based team DiceGang took home first prize.

“It felt really good to win! We played last year and I’m not sure if this year the challenges were easier or more difficult but we solved a lot more this time. We love coming to Switzerland as this is one of the best CTFs with not just the competition but all of the activities around it as well. These are such important events because most of us get a lot of our education from Capture the Flags – it’s hard to learn some of these skills just in class,” said Harrison Green from Carnegie Mellon University in the United States and a member of DiceGang.

EPFL’s Capture the Flag team, the Polygl0ts are proud of how LakeCTF has grown and, once again, stepped up to the task of creating interesting challenges.

“We are one of the most successful academic competitions for this kind of cyber security event and we are happy that so many participants came from so many different countries, really making the effort to participate in LakeCTF. They enjoyed our challenges which is always great to hear because there is a real balance in setting them - they must be difficult but also solvable in eight hours,” explained Philippe Dourassov, a Bachelor student in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) and President of the Polygl0ts.

LakeCTF has put EPFL on the global cyber security map in a short period of time. Deirdre Rochat is Head of Communications for the EPFL IC School, and helped create the event. “LakeCTF brings together the top CTF teams where challenges aren't obstacles but opportunities to shine and push the boundaries of cybersecurity. With its successful second edition, LakeCTF is proving to be more than just a competition; it's a community reuniting the brightest minds in academia and an opportunity to discover EPFL and Switzerland.”

This year’s edition was sponsored by Bug Bounty Switzerland, Infomaniak and Orange Cyberdefense, “we worked with external sponsors for the first time this year, and in order to sustain such an event, we look forward to widening the range of our industry partners,” continued Rochat.

Team Polygl0ts originated in Professor Mathias Payer’s HexHive Laboratory in 2018 as a way for students to playfully learn about all aspects of cyber security. The polygl0ts are a commission of la CLIC, and now count students from across the IC School that compete in CTFs around the world.

Companies interested in partnering with LakeCTF in 2025 can contact Deirdre Rochat: [email protected]

10 competing teams & their placements
DiceGang, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Cornell University, University of California, Berkeley, OtterSec Score 6031
cheriPi, University of Cambridge Score 3212
FluxFingers, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany Score 2817
the hackerscrew, thehackerscrew, international Score 2537
flagbot, ETH Zürich, Universidad Complutense de MadridScore 2089
about:blankets, multiple universities, Italy 2063
Zer0Line, Zer0Tolerance, WreckTheLine, international Score 1835
last minute mergers, Flagboth, international Score 1403
fibonhack, University of Pisa, SBT Score 1227
Phreaks 2600, Ecole 2600, France Score 670

Author: Tanya Petersen

Source: Computer and Communication Sciences | IC

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