UTPHAX Competition

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UNITEN representatives at UTPHAX competition. From left : Lim Kien Seng, Nazrul and Faeq

SINTOK,KEDAH, 25th October 2016 – Nazrul, Faeq, and Lim Kien Seng from group ‘there’,talented and certified “hackers”,have took part in UTPHAX National Hacking competition that took place on the 22nd and 23rd of October at Universiti Utara Malaysia, and achieved an impressive 2nd place.

Using the basic of the hacking skills, such as reverse engineering, steganography (the art of concealing messages), and so many other skills that I have almost zero knowledge about,
teams were assigned to find “flags”, which are the objectives hidden in cipher codes. The UNITEN team, consisting of Mokdhdzani Faeq bin Mohamed Fuad – BA of Computer Science (Software Engineering) 2nd year Lim Kien Seng – BA of Computer Science (Software Engineering) 2nd year Nazrul Affiq bin Ahmad Amimar – BA of Computer Science (System and Networking) 2nd year (codenamed: ‘There’), was humble in their efforts, stating that they had much more to learn, despite getting the same amount of “flags” as the rivalling champions. Nazrul stated that “…the difference (between first and second place) is that they submitted their ‘flags’ earlier. Therefore we need to train harder to obtain our ‘flags’ faster next time.”

Nazrul and Faeq stated that they applied the programming and scripting skills developed from their studies in the competition, but they also managed to get an “outside-of-class” learning experience, meaning that not only did the apply their studies, but also learned a few things not taught in the lecture hall. Nazrul says that these newfound skills and knowledge have helped him maintain his CGPA.

Enjoying our little chat and discussing their prize, I decided to ask how “hacking”, aside from winning competitions, could benefit people. Faeq answered that through hacking, we know HOW we are vulnerable and not just accepting the fact that we are. By learning how hackers operate, we are able to learn how to make countermeasures against them. Seeing how Xbox Live, a very big online service by Microsoft, a very big company, has been hacked several times by an anonymous hacker group in the past two years, Faeq may have a solid point. Faeq continues by encouraging people to learn cybersecurity skills as we are, quote, “currently moving to a virtual era where these kind of skills will be in demand, or just in order for us to stay safe”. With online shopping and cloud data storages, it’s
impossible to challenge that statement.

To finish off our chat, the team extends their thanks to Mr. Alan Cheah and Mr. Surizal for their guidance and cooperation. The success ‘There’ has achieved would be impossible without them.

Unfortunately, I was not able to contact Lim Kien Seng for his insights, however our congratulations are extended to him and the rest of the team as well.

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