Omar Elgafri, a computer science and engineering senior, won top honors at the OPCDE Capture The Flag (CTF) Security Competition, held recently in Emirates Towers, Dubai. This year’s annual competition was a hard-fought event with Elgafri defeating industry professionals and students to emerge as the winner.
The OPCDE cyber security CTF is a security competition between security professionals and/or students learning about and involved in the field of cyber security. There are generally two types of CTF competitions: Attack and Defense; and Jeopardy-style. The OPCDE CTF belonged to the latter category wherein participants are faced with a number of challenges from a wide range of categories such as web, forensic, crypto, programming and reversing. Participants are awarded points for every challenge solved.
Elgafri, who prepared for the event by participating in numerous competitions such as CSAW ’17 and UAE National CTF ’18 as well as by solving live online challenges, emerged victorious by maintaining a sharp focus despite the long duration of the live competition, which commenced at 10:00 a.m. on April 6 and ended at 4:30 p.m. the next day.
Speaking about the tough hours of the competition, Elgafri said:
“After being awake for 31 hours and solving difficult problems, I was barely conscious when they announced my name! It was only after getting my due rest the next day, did the reality that I had won first place hit me. It was then that I started to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment and felt that this win was just the beginning of my journey to the exciting and dynamic world of cyber security.”