The competition’s first place went to the team C4T BuT S4D. Its members are: Artem Mikheev, a student of ITMO’s Information Technologies and Programming Faculty; Vsevolod Kokorin, a student of the Faculty of Software Engineering and Computer Systems; and students of Moscow-based universities Ilya Grekov, Roman Nikitin, and Nikita Pokrovskii. The team was founded in 2019; their activities include designing information security contests, devising competition tasks, organizing internal contests for corporate teams, and creating practical tasks for educational courses and IT conferences.

In the final stage of VolgaCTF, teams competed in real time by attacking their rivals’ services and defending their own. To do so, they searched for “flags” within vulnerable programs or websites. The team C4T BuT S4D were the first to discover and exploit the vulnerabilities in all five services, netting themselves a win.

“VolgaCTF results have quite a large weight on, which is a global aggregator of CTF contests that ranks teams by their performance. This victory allowed us to get back into the global top-3 list. Such a high ranking will allow us to attract more participants to our competitions and stay involved in the global CTF community. In the previous season, we reached the top spot in the global ranking, but went down to number four by the end of the year. We plan to get back up on top in the near future,” says team member Vladislav Kokorin.

Vsevolod Kokorin. Credit: VolgaCTF

Vsevolod Kokorin. Credit: VolgaCTF

VolgaCTF is an international open competition in information security that welcomes over a 1,000 teams from around the world. The event is held once a year and consists of several stages. In addition to the final stage, it includes talks by specialists and independent experts from the IT community, as well as a Jeopardy-type CTF contest, during which players have 24 hours to find answers to questions by exploiting various vulnerabilities. Each answer is a flag in the form of a set of symbols or a random phrase.

The final stage of VolgaCTF is held in Samara and organized by Samara University and Samara Oblast’s Department of Information Technologies and Communications. This year’s finals featured 23 teams that performed the best in the qualifying round, as well as winners and runners-up of an infosec contest held by the Povolzhskiy State University of Telecommunications and Informatics. The participants came from all over Russia (Omsk, Kazan, Samara, Saratov, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, and more) and its neighboring countries: – but almost half the teams hailed from Moscow-based universities: MEPhI, LMSU, HSE, MIREA, and others. The second place went to the team from MEPhI, while the bronze was awarded to students of Novosibirsk State University.

By the end of 2023, two more major contests will feature tasks developed by C4T BuT S4D. The first, BRICS+ CTF, is organized by ITMO and will take place on September 24. The prize pool, shared between three teams, totals at 800,000 rubles. Applications may be submitted here. The second event, CTF Russian Cup, will conduct its finals on December 9.