Now Traditional STM “Capture the Flag” Event Continues to Develop with Novelties

17 Ocak 2019

STM recently hosted the annual “STM Capture the Flag” (CTF) cybersecurity competition, which has now become somewhat of a tradition in the sector. To match the growing interest in the event and to give everyone a chance to compete, the competition was for the first time held in two stages this year. The first stage of the competition was carried out online on September 28–29, with no limitation applied to the number of participants, while the second stage took place offline on October 31 in Ankara. The teams making it into the top three shared total prize money of ₺45,000.


The first stage of the event saw 129 teams competing for a period of 36 hours, with the highest ranking 43 teams qualifying for the second stage. In addition to the competing teams of three to four participants each, the event also had five cybersecurity teams joining as STM’s specially invited guests, making a grand total of 190 participants competing in 48 teams.

The 2018 participation numbers far exceeded those of the previous years’ events, which were:

  • 73 competitors in 20 teams in 2015.
  • 96 competitors in 26 teams in 2016.
  • 113 competitors in 29 teams in 2017.

The number of competitors in 2018 thus represented a 68 percent increase on the previous year.


Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries


Dynamic Scoring System Designed to Make Contestants Sweat

During the competition, the teams were asked a total of 48 questions, and were required to enter the right answers using alpha-numerical format flags.

Following on from the changes applied in previous years, the design of this year’s competition also brought several new features, one of which was a dynamic scoring system in which more points were awarded for harder questions. The first team to answer a question correctly was awarded 500 points. But as the number of teams correctly answering each question increased, the score for each respective question began to drop for all of these contestants, including the first team to reach the correct answer. As a result, the points earned by the teams for correct answers constantly increased and decreased during the event, depending on the number of other correct answers.


Another scoring feature that was repeated from last year was the freezing of the scoreboard displaying each contestants’ points for the last half hour of the event. Viewers following the event were given the opportunity to compete in a technology-themed mini contest and win small prizes.

At the end of the competition, the top three teams and their awards were as follows:

  • First Team: Lorem Checksum, ₺20,000
  • Second Team: SST-H, ₺15,000
  • Third Team: Nyx, ₺10,000

A sweepstake organised after the award ceremony resulted in iPads being awarded to three contestants who did not make it into the top three, and gift vouchers to 10 other contestants.

Murat İkinci, General Manager of STM

Murat İkinci, General Manager of STM


Ömer Korkut, Deputy General Manager

Ömer Korkut, Deputy General Manager

Resolve to Raise Human Resources

The opening speeches were delivered by Murat İkinci, General Manager of STM, and Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries and at the conclusion of the event, Ömer Korkut, Deputy General Manager of STM, shared some statistics about the competition.

Stating that STM is engaged in innovative works in cybersecurity under the lead of the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), Murat İkinci, General Manager of STM, said: “STM continues to make significant investments in cybersecurity, as is evidenced by its integrated cybersecurity capabilities, R&D investments in the field, regularly-issued cybersecurity reports, CTF contests and its CyDecSys – an indigenous and national decision support software that we will be introducing today. As the target of one of the world’s most intense cyber threats, we are determined to raise sufficient qualified human resources to match Turkey’s needs, and to develop critical technologies entirely through indigenous means.”


First Place Team, Lorem Checksum

First Place Team, Lorem Checksum


Cybersecurity: An Inextricable Part of National Defence

Prof. Dr. Demir, speaking at the event, said: “Even in environments in which no ongoing war is apparent, there may be a deeper conflict taking place through different structures or platforms. Protecting sensitive digital information related to our country, our institutions and Turkish companies now constitutes an integral part of national defence. We do not consider the efforts in this new area merely as a matter of [acquiring] hardware. The most important issue here is to raise qualified human resources, and to deploy them effectively in line with the country’s interests by developing indigenous and national software. It is for this reason that we attach significant importance to this annual CTF event.”

Second Place Team, SST-H

Second Place Team, SST-H


Third Place Team, Nyx

Third Place Team, Nyx


Satisfying Results

At the end of the competition, Ömer Korkut, Deputy General Manager of STM, revealed the results of a survey taken by the participants that clearly illustrated the level of interest in the event. Noting that 97.3 percent of the competitors were considering joining next year’s competition, Korkut said: “This [feedback] is, of course, a very valuable for us. The fact that we are likely to host nearly all of this year’s participants again next year shows us that we are doing good things here.”

Speaking about the design changes the competition may undergo in the following year, Korkut said: “Having become a tradition in its own right, we will continue holding this event, while making additions, expanding it, modifying it and raising its standards. As Prof. Dr. Demir also mentioned in this morning’s opening speech, we will diversify this competition. Maybe we’ll take it outside of Ankara, maybe we’ll make it international through our connections, or maybe we’ll change its format. But one thing is for sure, next year’s STM CTF will be different to this year’s event. With a goal of contributing not only to STM, but also to you, we will continue to develop STM CTF by making new additions with each passing year.”

With a launch meeting organised on the sidelines of the event that lasted an entire day, STM took the opportunity to introduce its CyDecSys Cybersecurity Decision Support System.

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