After winning iCTF and Codegate, PPP had already prequalified for Defcon19. Of course, we couldn’t be lamers so we also qualified through the normal prequal round (which makes us the first team to ever triple qualify for Defcon).
Our team slowly flew into Vegas from around the country to compete in the final round against many other awesome teams and friends.
Of course, we were in Vegas for a reason, so we didn’t have too much time to spend on the strip. We needed to be well rested for the CTF, after all.
Like most teams, we had two groups of people during the competition, one working downstairs on defense, and another goup holed up in a hotel room working on reversing/exploits.
When the competition began, we were given an image of our server, as well as login details for it. As a new twist this year, the competition was all based over IPv6, making it exceptionally challenging to get some of our network tools working properly on the server.
Of course, in ddtek tradition, the scoreboard and submission servers were not available until near the end of the first day, which gave everyone time to write a few exploits and get defenses up and running.
By the end of the first day, PPP was exploiting quite a few challenges and had a decent score.
After a long night of working on fixing networking tools with IPv6 and finishing exploiting a few more problems, we all got a bit of sleep to get ready for day 2.
Despite having more exploits written and keeping our services up throughout day 2, we dropped in position quite a bit. We were told the scoreboard was inaccurately displaying data such as SLA (how well we keep our services up/defend them), and having many outages of access to servers, but there was little we could do about that. Overall it was very difficult to tell how we were doing score wise, as the only scoreboard to which we had access was the one presented by ddtek, which rarely updated and did not display any information such as for which services we were correctly getting points.
Before the second day ended, another team rooted our CTF server. To be a bit more accurate, lollersk8ters rooted ddtek’s, and therefore all contest player’s servers. Although other teams complained about the same issue, it took ddtek almost an hour to realize the problem was on their side, despite our evidence that a team must have been outside the jail. Of course the entire time, all teams were locked out of their servers. Doh!
We later found out one to three other teams had also rooted ddtek’s servers, and therefore the servers for all other contestants.
After the second day, we had dropped all the way down into 7th place. That night we finished up exploits for all but one service, ready to go for the next day of the competition, though we weren’t sure what would happen after lollersk8ters had control over everyone’s boxes already.
The third day of the competition no scoreboard was displayed. Rumor has it that this is traditional to make the results of the CTF more suspenseful, though we never actually told why there was no scoreboard on the last day.
Although we were submitting keys for challenges, after the final placement of teams was released, it seemed scores didn’t change much if at all on the third day.
After the competition ended, PPP put its time in Vegas to good use. We hung out with a few of the other awesome teams and, of course, did other Vegas specific activities.
Sadly, PPP came in 7th place overall. Not horrible, but certainly not as well as we would have hoped. The final list of teams is available at ddtek’s website, though it is very unfortunately lacking both raw scores as well as packet captures.
Congratulations to European Nopsled Team, who won first place, Routards in second, Hates Irony in third, and all other contestants! We had a great time competing with you and hope to do it again soon.
For those interested, Routards also had a great post on how the competition unfolded.