KU’s Department of Cyber Defense shocked the world again
Winning the CODEGATE championship for second consecutive year
▲ Sang-jin Lee, Dean of Graduate School of Information Security, congratulated the winners.
Angjinmoti, a white hacking team composed of graduates from Korea University’s Department of Cyber Defense won the CODEGATE2019 championship, giving KU teams the top prize for the second straight year. CODEGATE, known globally as the festival of white hackers, is an international hacking and defense tournament. This year’s competition, which was a close match until the last minute, lasted over 20 hours, with the Angjinmoti eventually earning a thrilling come-from-behind victory.
On April 8, two members of the team visited KU and were congratulated by Sang-jin Lee, Dean of Graduate School of Information Security. Below is an interview with the two team members conducted at the award ceremony. (Due to anonymity and confidentiality regulations enforced by the Department of Cyber Defense, the students’ full names have not been disclosed.)
-The KU teams won come-from behind victories two years in a row. You must have been so excited since it was a breathtaking seesaw match even just one minute before it finished. How did you feel when you knew that you had won?
Im: We had the lead four hours before the end, and even after that, the other teams’ scores didn’t really get higher, which made me feel at ease. But suddenly the score was tied, and I started being a little worried. The result didn’t surprise me much though because we checked the scoreboard displaying the rankings every time we solved a problem. In some other competitions, scores are not shown during the game.
Jin: PPP, the American team that was in second place, tied the match one minute before the end. I was extremely anxious at that point, but after the game finished, I just felt stunned. Since the KU team was last year’s champion, I was given a chance to participate in this year’s competition as an additional member of the team, and that made me feel enormous pressure. Well, I enjoyed competing with other great teams though, and I was simply happy that we finally won. (laughs)
-The KU teams achieved their second consecutive victory this year. What do you think is the secret?
Jin: When we were KU students, we were in the same department as well as the same club “CyKor,” the information security club of the Department of Cyber Defense. We participated in numerous tournaments together, and the experiences helped us learn each member’s strength and role. That is our secret.
-Even the name of your team is interesting. Is there a reason why you named it ‘Angjinmoti’?
Jin: Well, it is a little embarrassing. (laughs) We once tried to change the name, but we were told that we were not allowed to do so. ‘Ang kimoti’ came from a Japanese word ‘kimochi (気持ち)’ meaning ‘I feel good.’ My family name is Jin, so we inserted ‘Jin’ and took ‘ki’ out. That’s how we named our team.
-The competition lasted for twenty hours. Then of course you had to eat during the competition, right?
Im: Sure, we ate. Breakfast, dinner and even late-night snacks were provided during the event.
-It must have been a very tough twenty hours. Can you tell us about the most difficult moments?
Im: It was extremely stressful when problems were not easily solved. It took from many minutes to many hours just to solve a single problem.
Jin: I’ll never forget the moment when we had only three problems left. There was a particularly difficult ‘website hacking’-related problem that asked us to find loopholes in a virtual website and decommission the server. We barely solved it, and I was anxious that we might have fallen behind other teams.
-The questions of this year’s competition were related to diverse subjects such as defending cryptocurrency exchanges, cyber currency manipulation, and an attack on hardware used for 5G. All of these seem to be highly complicated. What was the most complex question?
Im: “Interpret the communication signals transmitted over 5G” was the trickiest one. Comprehending the question itself was not easy. There is usually a set format when communication signals are transmitted, but 5G technology is still unknown. So we all struggled to find the answer.
-Despite all the difficulties, you finally won, which is really amazing. Here is the last question for you. Angjinmoti is expected to have a bright future. What field do you hope to work in?
Im and Jin: We don’t really pick and choose certain fields, but system hacking, operating systems or the technology of attacking applications has been quite interesting to us.
Three Angjinmoti members are graduates from KU’s Department of Cyber Defense and are planning to join the army this year. This year’s competition was held in March, about a month earlier than previous years, which made it possible for the three members to take part in the event. At the award ceremony, Sang-jin Lee, Dean of Graduate School of Information Security, said, “I am proud of the students who continuously achieve excellent results.”