4 min read

Cyber Apocalypse 2023 event recap: The Cursed Mission

Over 12,000 brave hackers plundered intergalactic temples in the third consecutive year of our community Capture The Flag contest, Cyber Apocalypse!

panawesome avatar

Apr 13

Cyber Apocalypse 2023 was a blast. 12,553 hackers from 170 countries solved exciting challenges, connected on our Discord server, and pushed their skills to the limit!

The five days of fun this year featured bigger teams, more challenges, shiny new categories (Machine Learning and Blockchain), and content for all skill levels. 

stats for Cyber Apocalypse 2023

Theme: Tomb-raiding intergalactic temples to save humanity 

CA comic

If I had to choose two words to describe the theme of this year's Cyber Apocalypse, those words would be electrifying and intense. Players stepped into the shoes of Pandora, a renowned archaeologist and hacker, on a mind-bending mission to plunder ancient temples and tombs in search of alien technologies and save humanity in a race against time.

As always, we cranked up the excitement for each challenge by infusing each one with the storyline: 

Hacking battle robots? Check!

ca battle robots

Deciphering probably tampered maps? Check!


What about browsing alien marketplaces? Check!

Alien marketplace

72 high-octane challenges across 10 categories 

The community experienced a whole new level of excitement this year! In addition to the classic Jeopardy-style CTF challenges you know and love, we amped up the thrill with brand-new Machine Learning and Blockchain challenges to push your skills to the limit.

We also facilitated all skill levels by including Very Easy and Insane difficulty-level challenges. This kept Cyber Apocalypse fun for both beginners and advanced players alike. 


Mission accomplished! 👏

An awesome event like this deserves awesome prizes for winners. The overall prizes were worth $35,000 and the scoreboard was populated by both familiar and new faces. Give a round of applause for our top three!


Following last year’s second place, idek came back with a vengeance and took the win. Along with:

  • $2,000 in cash

  • Twenty $100 Swag Card

  • Twenty HTB Academy Silver Annual Subscriptions


Being regulars of the Cyber Apocalypse podium, team AIGenerated won second place and:

  • $1,000 in cash

  • Twenty $50 Swag Card

  • Twenty HTB Academy Silver Annual Subscriptions


We have some new faces amongst the top three ranks! Team 796f75 won:

  • Twenty Annual VIP+ subscriptions

  • Twenty $25 Swag Card

  • Twenty monthly Pro Lab subscriptions

Hacking for a good cause

This year we donated $5,000 to Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian medical organization, to support the people affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

hack for good

Hacking workshops

A little preparation goes a long way when embarking on an intergalactic mission to save humanity. That’s why we hosted pre-event hacking workshops to prepare players for the journey ahead.

The HTB team (including me!) and familiar faces like Nahamsec and CertBros shared tips and tricks on various topics ranging from XSS, SQL injection, and Cookie Forgery web attacks. Highlights from the workshops:

You can watch the entire live stream or each talk on our channel.

Onto the next mission

CA award

We will be back for Cyber Apocalypse 2024 next year, but until then, keep an eye out for other events on our CTF platform and join our Discord server to be a part of this fantastic community. If you didn’t participate and are feeling left out, no worries! All challenges will be uploaded to our main platform. Some challenges may have their write-ups uploaded on our blog and YouTube channel, so stay tuned! 

Author bio: Panos Petsanas (panawesome), Community CTF Project Manager, Hack The Box

Panos Petsanas has worked as a penetration tester for four years and has been a CTF player for much longer. He was a member of HTB before it was cool and his favorite categories are Web and Fullpwn—he's trying to get into Cloud.

As a professional, he specialized in Web and Infrastructure assessments. Panos holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, and a Master’s in Information Systems. He also has Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) and Certified Red Team Professional (CRTP) certifications.

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