Purdue CTF Team Captures $10,000 Prize - Department of Computer Science - Purdue University Skip to main content

Purdue CTF Team Captures $10,000 Prize


The five-member Purdue Computer Science Department sponsored Capture The Flag Team (CTF) finished first at the Raymond James Capture the Flag 2019 Information Security Competition. In the CTF team’s first appearance at the event they bested 14 other teams and took home the $10,000 prize. Raymond James International hosted the competition at its St. Petersburg, FL headquarters.
The team members bring together skill sets from different departments and colleges at the West Lafayette campus. The CTF team displayed outstanding teamwork and collaboration while preparing for the competition during a span of less than one month. They had practice working together by balancing a “pre-challenge” from Raymond James during midterms week.
CTF team members:
Bader AlBassam, PhD student in Computer Science, Captain
Alissa Gilbert, PhD student in Computer and Information Technology
Alex Lin, Electrical and Computer Engineering major
Jack Zimmer, Cybersecurity major
Connor McMillin, Computer Science major
Bader AlBassam describes the team’s efficiency like this, "It takes more than just a group of skilled hackers to do well in a CTF but also a good sense of teamwork. Everyone on our team are experts in their respective skills and together we fostered an excellent team dynamic. While solving the assigned challenges, we all knew the other’s individual strengths and made sure to support one another in the challenge solving process. This enabled us to succeed in solving the CTF challenges as efficiently as possible. Thankfully, we had a group of excellent hackers, and excellent team players."

"As the risks to our privacy and data security rise daily, we need more university students and students globally to learn these security skills that aren’t always offered in class," added teammate Jack Zimmer. "Our team’s diversity in our majors shows just how important these skills are needed no matter where your education comes from, it will benefit your security and the security of whatever company you go to work for too."

The teams worked throughout the day to complete multiple challenges based on real-world threat scenarios facing firms in the financial sector. Other teams in the competition included the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida, Penn State University, the College of Charleston, Purdue Polytechnic, Johns Hopkins University, Florida Institute of Technology, St. Leo University, the University of Florida, University of Tampa, Florida State University, St. Petersburg College, and a team from the FBI.
“This CTF gave Purdue students an excellent opportunity to test their skills on practical challenges and offered an exciting learning and team experience," said faculty mentor and computer science professor, Dr. Antonio Bianchi. “The CTF team distinguished themselves among top universities in winning the Raymond James “Capture the Flag” cybersecurity challenge.”
Capture the flag competitions give students the opportunity to practice security skills and tackle realistic challenges outside the classroom. In these competitions, students try to solve security challenges from different categories to earn points, competing against other teams. The popularity of these events is increasing as interest in cybersecurity and ethical hacking becomes more mainstream.
If you are interested in becoming involved with CTF competitions, learn more about the Purdue CTF team - b01lers.

Writer: Emily Kinsell, 765-494-0669, emily@purdue.edu, @emilykinsell

Source: Bader AlBassam, balbassa@purdue.edu


Last Updated: Jan 22, 2020 9:54 AM

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