USIU-Africas IT Club hosts Capture the Flag (CTF) tournament

By Nirali Patel

On April 2, 2022, USIU-Africa hosted a Capture the Flag (CTF) competition in partnership with eKRAAL, Sentinel Africa and Lunna. The competition consists of a series of challenges that vary in their degree of difficulty, and that require participants to exercise and solve different skill sets in cybersecurity. Once an individual challenge is solved, a “flag” is given to the player and they submit this flag to the CTF server to earn points. The competition revolved around four main categories of Information Technology: Cryptography, Steganography, Blockchain and Reverse Engineering.

A total of 20 universities and colleges from Kenya participated in this year’s competition. They included Africa Nazarene University, Co-operative University, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, University of Nairobi, Institute of Software Technologies, KCA University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenyatta University, Meru University, Moringa School, Mount Kenya University, Pan African Christian University, Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology, St. Paul’s University, Strathmore University, Technical University of Kenya, East Africa University, Kabianga University, Zetech University and the host, United States International University-Africa.

A total of 195 participants registered for the event, with a total of 51 groups competed for the winning title.
The sponsors for the event were:

  1. eKRAAL innovation hub, which is Kenya’s first cybersecurity innovation hub that aims to retain, nurture and promote the country's top cybersecurity talent and foster the country's social and economic growth.
  2. Sentinel Africa, which offers an array of technology tools to automate and protect IT assets and risk management of the organization
  3. Lunna, which is a go-to-social media app for connecting with friends, entertainment and being in the know. It enables users to chat and make calls with friends, discover top trending topics and break news headlines.

The CTF modules and challenges were created by eKRAAL whereas Lunna and Sentinel Africa sponsored the prizes for the winning teams.

The winning team bagged a trophy, gift bags and learning vouchers worth Ksh. 240,000 (Ksh. 80,000 for each team member) for courses offered by Sentinel Africa. Members from 1st runners up and 2nd runners up teams got gift bags from Lunna.

Apart from the members participating in the competition, we also had students who attended the event to observe and learn how the challenges are solved. They also had some training on Application Programming Interface (API) literacy from Kelvin Ndemo, who is a front end software engineer at Twiga foods and also the current president of the IT club at USIU-Africa.

CTFs held in USIU-Africa are part of the hackathon that the IT club organizes. The IT club plans to make this event an annual thing by engaging more students from USIU-Africa that are planning their careers in the cybersecurity field.

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