Muhammad Alifa Ramdhan, Computer Engineering Student Succeeded in the 2022 Zero Day Initiative Contest

Semarang, tekkom.ft.undip.ac.id – Muhammad Alifa Ramdhan, a Computer Engineering student class of 2019 works as a Security Researcher at STAR Labs SG, Singapore. It has been 2 years since December 2020 Alifa joined a company engaged in cyber security services. His work focuses on research by looking for security holes in the technology sector: container security, kernel security and hypervisor security.

Alifa, who is a Security Researcher at STAR Labs SG, had the opportunity to take part in the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) contest on 18 – 20 May 2022 and together with his co-workers were part of a team. Zero Day Initiative is a contest held annually by TrendMicro – a security software company from Japan. The contest awards Security Researchers for addressing cyber security vulnerabilities/loopholes.

In the contest the teams were asked to demonstrate security holes found in various popular applications such as: VMWare, Chrome, Windows, MS Teams, to Tesla. Alifa and the team targeted VirtualBox applications in the Virtualization category. He and his team conducted research on the application’s security holes and created an exploit program. The time given for the team to demonstrate the results was only five minutes with three attempts. Alifa and the team succeeded in hacking the targeted program by leaving 3 minutes 45 seconds on the first try. They managed to get a prize of $ 40,000 and 4 Master of Pwn points.

“The impression is quite tense because we only have 3 chances to fail in demonstrating the exploit. It turned out that only once did our team succeed in hacking the targeted program, namely VirtualBox,” said Alifa. He also added that in his research process he discovered many new things such as the exploitation techniques he learned.

Alifa conveyed his message to his colleagues, “Never give up if you want to achieve something, be someone who is always curious and for knowledge, so that you can continue to be passionate about learning and sharpening knowledge.”

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