Publication date: December 18, 2012

PHDays CTF Quals — 494 Teams from 30 Countries and PPP Triumph

PHDays CTF Quals — 494 Teams from 30 Countries and PPP Triumph

This year PHDays CTF Quals, information security competition, has become the most large-scale over its history — 681 teams applied for participation, 494 of them took up the struggle, 154 teams solved at least one task, and more than 100 people discussed the battle on IRC. PPP (Plaid Parliament of Pwning), a team from the USA, became the winner.

According to the results of the competition that lasted over 48 hours from 10 a.m. on December 15 to 10 a.m. on December 17, the first 10 teams of the overall rating, which scored the biggest number of points for the least time, qualified for PHDays III CTF.

Final Score

PPP, the team from the USA, won by a wide margin of 1,300 points, the second place was taken by Eindbazen (Netherlands), and joint team More Smoked Leet Chicken took the third place. All in all, five teams from Russia were able to make their way to the top 10. This result can be considered as a perfect one taking into account stiff resistance of the teams.

The teams kept on struggling for the leading position in the overall rating throughout the competition. It is clear from the digram related to the tasks completion by the participants.

Competition Dynamics

The competition dynamics are well reflected by the collected statistics available for downloading here:


The tasks were divided into five categories. Each of them included five tasks of different challenge levels (from 100 to 500 points).

Binary — reverse engineering tasks.

PWN — "classic" hacking (the participants of one of the teams managed to obtain root privileges in the PWN-200 task named HEAP, which wasn't provided by the contest scenario). All the tasks of this category were solved.

Real World — tasks typical of the real world (SQL Injection, Active Directory, RBS hacking).

Forensic — the title speaks for itself. All the tasks were solved.

Misc — tasks not matching any of the other categories (MK-61 calculator, Rubik's Cube tasks, and other daily life elements). None of the teams managed to solve a 500-point task of this category.

Solved tasks

The following write-ups can be used for any details on the way the participants solved the tasks:


Those teams that failed to take the place in the top 10 should not get into despair — New Year is coming soon, and it can perform magic. The final list of the PHDays III CTF participants may be enlarged by increasing the number of places from 10 to N. The N value is under discussion.

Moreover, personal invitations from the competition organizers still work.

Thanks to everyone who partook in PHDays CTF Quals. See you at Positive Hack Days III in Moscow! 

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