INRTU held its first school practical information security competition IrkutskCTF Junior

INRTU congratulated the winners and runners-up in the first IrkutskCTF Junior Practical Information Security Competition

Anna Sedova and Vsevolod Levitan fr om Irkutsk Gymnasium No. 2 were awarded first degree diplomas. The awarding ceremony took place on October 28th at the university's Boiling Point coworking at the closing ceremony of the iDigital-38 forum. 

The event was held on 22 October at INRTU Technopark on the initiative of School of Information Technology and Data Science Cyber Security Competence Centre.

According to the head of the centre Alexander Chumilin, knowledge in the field of information security is needed for those whose work is related to the protection of commercial and state secrets, processing of big data. Such specialists are in demand in large companies, law enforcement agencies and state enterprises. INRTU trains such specialists under a special undergraduate program.

INRTU organised the IrkutskCTF Junior tournament for potential applicants and those interested in the IT field. Thirty high school students from Irkutsk schools and gymnasiums took part in the tournament. All the tests were thematic, related to the popular animated series Gravity Falls, whose characters use ciphers and cryptography.

"CTF (Capture the flag) is a team game wh ere the main aim is to capture the 'flag' fr om an opponent. The children were offered 17 tasks in several categories, including steganography, cryptography, internet reconnaissance, searching for web vulnerabilities and so on. The task-based (or jeopardy) format implies that players are given a set of tokens (tasks) which require them to find an answer and submit it. The answer represents a flag: it may be a set of symbols or an arbitrary phrase hidden on a website, in an image or encrypted in an audio file. To cope with the challenge, the participants turned to online services with Morse code. Teams received a certain number of points for correctly solving the task. The more difficult the task, the higher the score," explained Alexander Chumilin.

Anna Sedova and Vsevolod Levitan from Vector of Success (Gymnasium No. 2) won. They managed to cope with the tasks in 1.5 hours instead of five according to the tournament rules.

The second place was taken by the group "Tickleball" (School No. 65) - Nikita Mazur, Ilya Ivanke, Anton Kosmodemyansky and Timur Sanzhiev. The final three winners were Ekaterina Chelnyntseva, Ilya Stampolsky, Alexander Kravets and Mikhail Popov (School 65, Steel Orbs team).
According to Anna Sedova, the result was influenced by experience and good preparation. They are from the same class, and have been keen on programming since the age of 11. Their interest in the IT-environment was sparked by their fathers who are computer programmers. Anya's father, for example, got his degree at INRTU.

"Vsevolod Levitan and I practiced on our own for the first few years, and in ninth grade we enrolled in the courses. We have experience in creating mobile applications, websites and developing computer games. We are well versed in programming languages, for example, I prefer to work with the C++ system. Now I'm helping my dad to rewrite the code for the Internet browser. A year ago I took part in a sports programming contest at INRTU. This experience helped me feel confident at IrkutskCTF Junior.

The winners' immediate goals are to prepare for the IrkutskCTF#3 inter-university tournament in practical information security. The event will take place at INRTU on November 26. Registration is available here.

Up-to-date information on the life of the polytechnic CTF movement can be found on and in the Telegram-channel. This is wh ere, according to Alexander Chumilin, you can dive "into the world of exploits and vulnerabilities".