Hey guys-

In the beginning of April, we had the biggest international hacking/security conference in Korea — Codegate.

The actual conference track started on Thursday, but the CTF competition started from Wednesday morning.

Our team, Plaid Parliament of Pwning (PPP), qualified this year’s Codegate CTF competition final.

Four members (Cai, ZoaEDK, dkohlbre, and tylnerni7) left from Pittsburgh on Sunday morning.

However we were delayed because the plane had some technical issues, we missed the connecting flight to Korea as well…

Thus we arrived Korea about 7 hours later than we originally planned. Anyhow, we got there safely.

Cai’s father picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at Artnouveau City in Gang-Nam, Seoul.

On the day we arrived (Monday), since we had a longer flight than we expected and arrived fairly late (~11pm), everyone passed out right away :p

Of course, we were gonna sleep early anyways for the Seoul trip that was planned for next day.

We decided to take a tour via Seoul City Tour Bus. Apparently, there is a very good city tour routine that consists of around 27 stops with 30 minute interval for foreigners/local citizens. So people can hop out and walk around about 30 minutes to an hour, and ride the bus back to visit other places. The ticket price for entire day was 10,000 WON (~10USD).

We first went to Deoksugung (one of Korean Royal Palace). Even though it was weekdays, we could see a lot of foreign visitors and local Korean students (field trip).

Of course, we took some pictures 😀

Next stop was Yong-San Electronics Market.

Yes, usually “normal” tourists don’t stop here. This is the place for all kinds of stuff related to electronics and computers.

We looked around this place about an hour and decided to go to Myung-Dong next.

It was very crowded as expected xD We had a lunch while we were there.

Since we were running under tight schedule and the team wanted to watch Starcraft games live, we went to Mun-Lae-Dong where MBC Game HERO Center is.

Actually, we were shown in the television several times (0:25).

Next day, we woke up early to go to COEX where Codegate was held.

It was nice to see all the teams that we’ve been competing against.

There were some audience too! (Well, they quickly got bored though :p)

At 10:00 am, the competition started. In fact, PPP didn’t solve any of the problems for the first 6 hours (The game was 24 hours in length.) So PPP wasn’t even listed on the scoreboard till we solved the first problem after 7 hours past the beginning of the game. Then, we were able to solve other problems fairly well for another 12 hours. We solved 6 problems at 18th hours— and that was it for the entire game xD. Fortunately, it was enough score to keep us at the first place until the last minute, when HFS (Hacking For Soju) team solved one more problem!

It was pretty intense competition considering that the game was lasting only 24 hours. (We are used to 48+ hour games, remember? heh.) We had two other problems that we were close to finish, but the time was over.

Once the competition ended, we were asked to quickly move to Award ceremony that was held in next room.

In fact, it was Thursday (the actual conference day), so there were a lot of people who visited Codegate Conference.

We got our prize for second place, and LM**2 (organizers for Codegate 2010 CTF) received award for their awesome work 😀

After the ceremonies and conferences, we had an after-party!

We met lots of l33t hacker friends whom include some that we knew for months online but never met before in real life!

At first PPP was lonely at one of the tables, but HFS and int3pids joined us soon after. Of course, beist was with us too 😛

As we are all aware, beist never stopped drinking :p

Because we had a flight back to Pittsburgh next morning, we needed to leave a little early.

We spent a wonderful time in Korea with awesome people.

We thank people who worked hard to organize Codegate 2010!

Hopefully, we can all meet again next year!

Some media coverage on this event: