Events

14 min read

Cyber Apocalypse 2022 event recap: Reliving the epic intergalactic chase

Find out what happened when 12,879 heroic hackers joined the intergalactic mission to defeat the evil Draeger.

eirinouba,
Aug 04
2022

Keeping the galaxy safe has never been an easy task, but hackers are always up for a challenge. They came to the rescue once again!

We are talking, of course, about the biggest Capture The Flag (CTF) hacking competition of the year: Cyber Apocalypse 2022: intergalactic chase.

After the smashing success of its 2021 debut, the hacking community's favorite CTF event is back (with the help of SIEMENS, Sonarsource, and Snyk).

Heroic hackers from 181 different countries and of different backgrounds and skill levels assembled to defend the galaxy from the evil Draeger. From the 14th-20th of May, 12,879 players (surpassing last year’s record by 30%!) and 7,024 teams joined the six-day intergalactic chase of a lifetime.

Cyber Apocalypse 2022: HTB CTF Recap Infographic

The storyline

In a galaxy far, far away…

The planet Thoccarth was once a place of wondrous experimentation and vibrant, colorful life. That was until continuous political turmoil and endless games of power led to a nuclear civil war that turned the planet into a radioactive wasteland.

A parasitic species of Mutants landed on the planet through a meteorite and managed to survive and thrive on the decimated land. In a war-torn world of savages, little to none is known about how Draeger came to power and united many of the nomadic tribes of The Glowing Sea.

After being proclaimed the universal ruler of the Mutants, he led the defense of his home planet in the energy crisis war.

His attack on the militarized planet Vinyr failed and he was taken into custody, but not before kidnapping and eventually killing the family of lead investigator Miyuki.

Draeger was imprisoned for crimes against sentient life, but he managed to escape the maximum-security black hole and migrated to another galaxy, searching for an army to lead.

Draeger again rose into power with false promises of providing boundless riches and resources by influencing and manipulating Longhir's planet's council. Having direct access to the planet's vault, he eventually bought the Golden Fang mercenary army, which he plans to overtake the cluster with.

Few are the people who would be able to stop him; an unlikely group of misfits, with unique hacking superpowers and a reason to want Draeger behind bars once and for all.

Meet the heroes

CA CTF 2022 Banner Quote

Miyuki - Boots of Justice - Forensics

The founding member and leader of the group, Miyuki, served as a foreign intelligence officer during the Nim cluster cold war. She was the youngest cadet graduate that passed with high honors in Vinyr's recorded history.

Her incredible investigative skills and natural intuition allowed her to move up the ranks quickly. During the Vinyr-Longhir proxy wars, she was appointed as an ambassador based on Urkir, a planet that declared neutrality.

Once the Mutants invaded Rohendel, the Galactic Federation issued an embargo on intergalactic arms deals. She later became the investigative lead on sanctions breaks and uncovered Longhir's involvement in the constant supply of arms passing through The Glowing Sea.

Before reporting this back to the station, Draeger's spies abducted her and her family during the final negotiations of the Vinyr-Mutant conflict.

During their captivity in a general's bunker, her family was used as a bargaining chip to prevent further troop movements and call for an end to the siege. When Ulysses found out about Miyuki's abduction, he abandoned his station and went to save her.

After taking down the guards, he attempted to gain access and open the bunker door. The door mechanism was booby-trapped, which resulted in the bunker being blown up and collapsing in on itself.

In the rubbles, it was later discovered that Miyuki was the only survivor. Suffering from memory loss, she woke up from a medically induced coma that lasted almost a year—eventually learning about her family's fate and Draeger's escape.

Having nothing left to live for, she took off in the vast empty space, planning her revenge.

Ulysses - The General - Web

Vinyr was the first planet to perceive the dying sun's threat to their existence. A couple of generations before, the state took drastic measures to assure its survival in a potential all-out war.

The state-backed "Ikarus'' project pioneered the research of nuclear arsenal development and conventional military deployment.

During the cold war, they issued a mandated enlistment of any person of age. Ulysses grew up in a strict environment and was under significant pressure from his father to follow in his footsteps and join the army as a corporal.

The people on his planet lived under constant alert and fear since the galaxy had declared open combat due to the sun dying. Ulysses found great comfort in such dreadful times with his childhood friend Miyuki, who was his first and only love.

In the great Energy Crisis war, his home planet emerged victorious with the cost of entire civilizations being destroyed. As a commander of his own battleship battalion that led the attack on The Glowing Sea, he witnessed destruction, genocides, and the lives of his beloved friends being taken away from him.

He regrets being part of the military and hasn't been himself since. He lives in constant torment for not being able to save Miyuki's family. Bonnie approached him for help due to his military experience. He has since reconciled with Miyuki and is now working with her to take down Draeger.

Bonnie - Scarface - Pwn

Bonnie grew up poor and an orphan. He resorted to crime after a local mob boss saw promise in him and undertook him as a disciple.

Bonnie started as a debt collector and enforcer and quickly moved up in the ranks, becoming head of connections. He was in charge of transporting the illegal exploits sold in the black market of the city, a trade he had been interested in since he was young.

After a couple of years, the mob wasn't doing well since a council reform imposed a crackdown on crime. Growing paranoid of a potential mutiny, the mob boss ordered a hit on critical members of his gang.

Bonnie survived an unsuccessful hitjob that left him a scar in the process. He then went after the mob boss, whom he thought of as a father, ultimately taking his place.

In a constant cycle of violence that didn't let Bonnie retire from the ways he grew apart and hated, Miyuki, who was after him all this time, offered a lifeline: A clean slate and a new life, in exchange for helping her take down Draeger.

Klaus - Scrappy - Crypto

Klaus was designed as a peacekeeper prototype for the crime-riddled area of Mirthidelle. His creator, Danbeer, loved and raised him as his child since he could not bear his own due to the prolonged exposure to the polluted air in the underground city.

Once the council of Longhir learned of the successful prototype-making, they ordered his destruction, and he was later transferred to another galaxy on a planet designated for the disposal of androids.

In the waste factory, he managed to escape but not before the factory workers encrypted parts of its memory during the hard-reset process.

Klaus was unable to get out of the android graveyard area of the factory since the right portion of his body was paralyzed because the encryption reached some of its movement function routines.

This was when he met Miyuki, who entered the disposal dump to search for parts to repair her spaceship. She was fascinated by his capabilities and reasoning and took him into their Paraman crew. Klaus now vows to break the encryption someday that holds his original location's memories and reunite with his Father.

Paulie - Little Boo - Reversing

Rohendel was a planet of peace and prosperity, responsible for many technological advancements that made space colonization possible in the Nim cluster.

Paulie, since a child, was fascinated and studied the ancient civilizations of his planet on this subject. The elemental stones, necessary for warp-speed transportation fuel, can only be harvested there.

Wanting to get these resources for himself, Draeger ordered an attack on Rohendel that decimated its population, leaving only Paulie alive. He was kept as a pet by one of the death squad commanders and grew up in the harsh conditions of a mercenary ship. He used his talent to decipher alien language and technology.

One day when everyone was sleeping, he managed to escape the station through an escape pod. Once out in the vastly empty space, the pod malfunctioned and sent a distress signal to nearby vessels, where he was left there deserted for days. Paulie was running out of hope until the crew eventually found him and took him in.

Virgil - Science's pride and sorrow - Hardware

Virgil was born out of wedlock by a noblewoman on planet Longhir.

When the king was informed, he ordered the child's execution to avoid bringing disgrace to the royal bloodline. The soldiers responsible for it took pity on the helpless child and decided to give him up in an orphanage, concealing his existence from the king.

Virgil's engineering ingenuity allowed him to be selected and join the "Daskayano" project for gifted children at a young age. The project coordinator, Meiro, witnessed Virgil's potential and decided to sponsor his formal education. After graduating, he joined Longhir's research division and worked alongside his sponsor. That's where he met his wife, Ramona, who worked as a chemical engineer in the department.

After many years of working alongside Meiro and Ramona, they accomplished significant neuro-linked body modification technology advancements.

Recent political turmoil sent the planet into a crisis and drove the once humanitarian project research scope into military technology. Virgil took it upon himself to help as many people as possible. He created a suit that was working both as armor and exoskeleton, significantly improving his strength and speed.

Virgil was often seen running towards explosions instead of running away, pulling people away from the rabble.

His choice of not taking sides was disliked by the king and his rivals alike, and they organized his kidnapping. He was locked away for months and tortured, until Ramona came to the rescue. Together they had to flee the planet.

While running away, they met the Paraman crew and decided to join forces.

Ramona - Hitgirl - Misc

​​Ramona was a model student in school. She was top of the class in mathematics and science, and she was also competing from an early age in gymnastics and swimming with great success.

An accident gave her a limp and forced her to quit sports. As a result, she directed all her focus into her academic career.

Her research on bio-injectable implants caught a lot of attention and landed her a position in Longhir’s research division. There she met her husband, Virgil.

Ramona shared the same vision of helping people with her partner and helped him create the exoskeleton suit that he used for rescuing people after the crisis began.

After hearing of Virgil’s arrest, Ramona was devastated. After the first days of shock, she decided that Virgil’s attitude of wanting to help everyone was not suitable for this world.

She used the same technology that Virgil used for his suit to fix her leg and enhance her body. But instead of being designed to help people, the enhancements were geared towards extermination.

One night she infiltrated the prison, moving in the shadows and taking out and disposing of almost any guard that came her way. When the prison staff realized the intrusion it was too late.

Virgil took some time to recognize his wife under the heavy modification. Two similar people, using the same technology for different reasons. They had no other choice but to flee the planet after being declared Longhir’s most wanted criminals.

They hopped planets while taking contracts for a living. During this time, they took a job from Bonnie that went amazing, therefore they were offered a spot on the crew.

Epic hacking content (60 challenges - 7 categories - infinite coolness!)

Each team had one mission: Submit flags till you drop.

The HTB team was more prepared than ever to surpass all expectations when it came to epic Capture The Flag content. Forensics, Web, Pwn, Reversing, Crypto, Hardware, and Misc challenges offered an amazing hacking experience to all Jeopardy Style CTF lovers out there.

No matter your skill level and particular taste, there was a challenge for you to solve and enjoy!

Fun fact: Web was the most solved challenge category, with 3,281 solves!

Care for a sneak peek?

MOVs Like Jagger - Crypto (medium difficulty):

Your spaceship's advanced GPS technology has calculated the exact parameters of the curve. Can you somehow predict Paketo's final destination and hijack it?

You can find the full write-up of the MOVs Like Jagger challenge on our blog.

Rising to the top

As expected, all the teams brought their A-game, but only a select few managed to climb to the top of the leaderboard. The top 10 teams were rewarded with some sweet prizes from a prize pool worth more than $20,000!

A special kudos, though, to the top 3 teams who managed to capture all the flags the fastest and rise to the top!

🥇InCrusadersWeRust

In the biggest plot twist of CTF history, InCrusadersWeRust climbed the leaderboard and earned first place, winning:

  • $2,000 in cash

  • A $100 Swag Card for each team member

  • HTB Academy Silver Annual Subscription (including a HTB CBBH voucher) for each team member

  • A Cyber Apocalypse Custom Swag Pack for each team member

🥈idek

Hot on the heels of InCrusadersWeRust, idek snagged second place and won:

  • $1,000 Cash

  • A $50 Swag Card for each team member

  • A HTB Academy Silver Annual Subscription (including a HTB CBBH voucher) for each team member

  • A Cyber Apocalypse Custom Swag Pack for each team member

🥉Thehackerscrew

The thehackerscrew reached the third spot on the leaderboard and won:

  • A $50 Swag Card for each team member

  • An Annual VIP+ Subscription for each team member

  • A Cyber Apocalypse Custom Swag Pack for each team member

Each member of SekteGadeng and FwordxSekai who reached 4 and 5th place respectively won a $50 Swag Card, a 6 Months VIP Subscription, and 1 Month of a Pro Lab of their choice.

AIGenerated, Arr3stY0u, bootplug, MapleBacon and ARESx all earned a $25 Swag Card and a 3 Months VIP Subscription for each of their members.

A cert for being awesome was also involved…

What’s more, ALL teams that gathered more than 200 points during the CTF were awarded a participation certificate. You know you can trust a certified hacker of the universe to keep the galaxy safe!

CA CTF 2022 Certification

Hacking for a good cause

Once again, our goal wasn’t just to create an epic hacking competition; we’re also serious about giving back to the community, especially in difficult times, when it’s needed the most.

This year we managed to donate $10,000 to the organization Doctors Without Borders, as a reminder that we always hack for good!

Hacking for good CA CTF 2022

Live hacking workshops

Of course, no warrior is sent to battle with no weapons! That’s why on May 13th (the day before the CTF) we hosted a live hacking workshop featuring some of Hack The Box’s best minds!

Hacking tips and tricks, walk-throughs, and a special AMA with ippsec were exactly what was needed to prepare everyone for the chase!

You can watch the entire Cyber Apocalypse 2022 livestream on YouTube!

What the community has to say!

What makes all of these truly matter, is the amazing feedback coming straight from the community!

CA CTF 2022 social media testimonial #1
CA CTF 2022 social media testimonial #2

"Just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone at HTB for putting on this event for free and the great content you guys create. I look forward to breaking my brain trying to solve your challenges again in the future."

"I really enjoyed the CTF and then seeing how others approached the same problems afterward. I've known for a while I should be doing these and now that I've finally done it, I can't wait to participate in other CTFs. It was definitely challenging but a great learning experience."

"I was already pretty excited for this even after the one from 2021 and I think you made it even better! Keep up the great work, I really enjoyed playing it, had a lot of fun and learned lots of new stuff! I'm always pretty impressed by how creative you guys are when it comes to challenges. Thanks for this CTF and I'm already waiting for the 2023 edition :)."

Cyber Apocalypse 2022 Track (relive the intergalactic chase!)

Did you miss Cyber Apocalypse 2022 and now feel extremely jealous?

No worries! A CA track is available on the HTB platform for you to solve some of the most popular challenges of the CTF.

Not to mention that you can also find the official HTB write-ups of some of the challenges on our blog!

Cyber Apocalypse 2022 Swag

And since you can’t spell Cyber Apocalypse 2022 without swag (ok, maybe you can, but you get our point), there’s some limited edition swag awaiting you in our store!

CA T-Shirt
CA-hoodies-swag

 

Celebrate the most epic CTF and relive the glory by rocking its colors all year round.

Get Swag

Till next year…

As you can expect, this is only the beginning! HTB’s great minds are already working hard on next year’s Cyber Apocalypse.

They’re meticulously researching sci-fi movies (aka binging to their hearts' content), developing creative challenges, and playing CTFs themselves to make 2023's event bigger and better for the hacking community!

Want updates on unmissable future hacking events?

Keep an eye out for the awesome Capture The Flag competitions on our CTF platform and join our Discord server.

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