Day 1 of competition at ECSC 2019

The first day of competition kicked off today in Bucharest. It was an early start to get breakfast and over to the Parliament building in time for the 8.45 am start. Our Uber driver Vladimir managed the morning rush-hour traffic with cool professionalism to get us there just in time for the opening speeches by ENISA and our Romanian hosts, who walked us through the rules for the competition.

David Loftus, Team Ireland. Photo: Ian Maher

Each team at the competition has a gigabit Ethernet switch which gives wired internet access to the interactive web or exploitation challenges. It’s a conscious choice by the organisers which avoids the WiFi issues that appear with >200 individual competitors’ devices present in the competition room.

Emma Heffernan, Team Ireland. Photo: Ian Maher

Team Ireland got off to a good start, solving a malleable AES-CTR challenge and a binary serial number generator challenge, followed by numerous crypto and web challenges. Although we had one or two issues with the platform not accepting our flags, we overall really enjoyed the difficulty level of these challenges put together by the Romanian organisers. Creating challenges at an appropriate skill level is a challenge in and of itself!

Ryan Harrison, Team Ireland. Photo: Ian Maher

Further challenges solved by Team Ireland included PHP backdoors and Python deserialisation bugs. The team’s communication skills were really put to test later in the day by the escape room challenge, which was put together by BT’s security team. Ireland successfully completed all 6 parts of this challenge.

Daniel Cahill (l) solving a challenge on Day 1 of the ECSC. Photo: Ian Maher

The remainder of the day was spent writing up the solution for each challenge solved, and preparing a PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow. Ireland are currently placed 16th out of 20 countries, with another full day of competition tomorrow.

Scores at end of Day 1

Stay tuned for more photos and updates on Day 2 of the competition!

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