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The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

Behind the Scenes of Upcoming JerseyCTF 2023 


(Graphic by Daniel Rodriguez and Kapila Mane)

Artificial intelligence and time travel stand as the themes for this year’s JerseyCTF, which will be held on April 15–16. JerseyCTF is a beginner-friendly Capture the Flag (CTF) competition that aims to inspire interest in cybersecurity.  

Hosted both virtually and in-person, JerseyCTF provides participants with Jeopardy-style questions in categories including cryptography, forensics, binary exploitation and reversing, open-source intelligence, and web exploitation, according to Logan Reyes, a founder of JerseyCTF and information technology administration and security graduate student.  

This event is a collaboration among many organizations, including the NJIT Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), NJIT Information and Cybersecurity Club (NICC), NJIT Secure Computing Initiative, Rutgers Security Club, and the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell.  

This year, cybersecurity YouTube content creator John Hammond and security engineers from Meta and NJCCIC will be involved as tech talk speakers. 

“This is our first year that we will offer full in-person activities,” Reyes said. “While the event is still open to virtual participation from anyone in the world, we encourage local students and professionals to attend in-person to be surrounded by like-minded people passionate for cybersecurity.” 

NICC public relations manager and fourth-year information technology major John Zabriskie mentioned, “The team has made a lot of effort to push for people to come physically and to improve our ratio of male to female participants, trying to even it out to 50-50.” 

Alfred Simpson, NICC president and third-year information technology major, made about 10 of the challenges in the event. “I think the hardest part was thinking in reverse,” he commented. “When I approach a CTF, my goal is to solve the challenges in front of me — I’m not necessarily thinking about every aspect of its creation.” 

Recently, NICC held its own private CTF to prepare students for JerseyCTF. “It was really cool to see the various ways people went about solving the challenges that we created. Some find really creative ways to solve them or wild shortcuts that you never knew existed,” Simpson added.  

“Students should participate because there is a wide range of challenges that are meant to require skills needed in the cybersecurity field,” said Ian Hanna, NICC vice president and third-year information technology major. While doing these challenges, students can test their skills and learn new ones that are relevant to the cybersecurity industry.  

Reyes is always most excited about the involvement from states outside of New Jersey and countries outside of the United States; the map above portrays the event’s participation around the world in 2022.  

Participation in 2022’s JerseyCTF (Graphic by Logan Reyes)

“This year’s JerseyCTF is the culmination of ACM’s two years of experience and the relentless efforts of NICC,” stated ACM president and second-year computer science major Ethan Ho. “We hope to see anyone who is interested in the event in person or tuned in to streams!” 

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