CSAW’23 marks the 10th anniversary of CSAW MENA (Middle East North Africa) organized by NYU Abu Dhabi. CSAW NYU Abu Dhabi is managed by a team of undergraduate and graduate students, and researchers from the Engineering Department and the Center for Cyber Security.

CSAW 2023 MENA at NYUAD was a resounding success, bringing together cybersecurity researchers, students and professionals from across the region to share knowledge, engage in friendly competition, and contribute to the advancement of cybersecurity.

Total Participants in final rounds – 88 students and researchers, reflecting a 90% surge in participant numbers compared to previous years, attributed also to the addition of two new competitions

5 Competitions

  • Capture the Flag – CTF
  • Applied Research Competition – ARC
  • Hack My Robot – HMR
  • BioHack 3D (New addition this Year)
  • LLM Attack Challenge (New addition this Year)

Capture the Flag

CSAW CTF is an entry-level, jeopardy style CTF, designed for university-level students who are interested in the field of security. Challenge categories will include: binary exploitation, reverse engineering, cryptography, web security, forensics, mobile security, industrial control systems, and miscellaneous challenges. CSAW CTF occurs over two rounds: a Qualifying Round in September and a Final Round in November. 

The heart of CSAW, the CTF competition, saw intense battles of skill and strategy as teams competed to solve a series of challenging cybersecurity puzzles for a non-stop 36 hours. Participants demonstrated their technical prowess and problem-solving abilities in this highly competitive and engaging event.


  • 37 participants from four different countries competed in the final round, with 10 teams emerging as finalists out of a total of 90 teams.

Congratulations to the CTF 2023 Winners!

1st Place


Mohammed Reda Sbaihi
Chiheb Chahine Yaici
Yahia Hachemi
Mohamed El Amine

2nd Place

SHELLSEC, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Informatique, Algeria

Allouche Imene
Abderahmane Oualili
Mohamed Amokrane Abdelmalek
Smail Djerrai

3rd Place

DEADSEC, Applied Science Private University, Jordan

Mahmoud Seif
Ghaidaa Alassaf
Jameel Abdalla
Hamza Abderrahim

Applied Research Competition 

This “Best Paper Award” assesses the top scholarly security research from the previous year. The focus of this competition is on research that has a practical impact.  With eligibility limited to already published papers or camera-ready papers, CSAW has a reputation for drawing some of the best security research worldwide. 

Congratulations to the ARC 2023 Winners!

1st Place

Priyanka Dodia, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI)
for the paper “Exposing the Rat in the Tunnel: Using Traffic Analysis for Tor-based Malware Detection”

2nd Place

Saleh Hamad Al-Daajeh, UAE University
for the paper “The Role of National Cyber-security Strategies on the Improvement of Cybersecurity Education”

Hack My Robot 

The Hack My Robot Challenge aims to raise awareness about the cybersecurity aspects of increasingly digitalized construction environments with a particular focus on robotics. This year’s Hack my Robot competition pushed the boundaries with a focus on autonomous excavators, highlighting the critical safety risks of potential compromises. Out of 23 stellar teams, 5 advanced to the intense finals, where students aimed to hack a construction environment robot, disrupting its functionalities. The competition witnessed fierce battles of wit and skill, but in the end, 3 standout teams emerged as the ultimate champions.

  • 19 participants from two countries competed in the final round, with 5 teams emerging as finalists out of a total of 23 teams.

Congratulations to the HMR 2023 Winners!

1st Place

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia

David Felipe Alvear Goyes
Nouf Farhoud
Luis Alberto Vazquez Limon
Erick Rodrigues e Silva

2nd Place

American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Shahed Obaid
Ansah Siddiqui
Mahmoud Darwish
Muhammed Noshin

3rd Place

BIN10 Team
Abu Dhabi University, United Arab Emirates

Ahmad Al-Remawi
Ahmed Elsayed
Nayef Abusharia
Abdelrahman Tameem

BioHack 3D 

BioHack 3D at CSAW 2023 marked a groundbreaking event as the first workshop and hackathon solely dedicated to Biochip Security and its intersection with 3D printing technology. The one-day event focused on exploring vulnerabilities related to PCR biochips, shedding light on crucial aspects of security in this emerging field. With participation from across the UAE, a total of 20 teams engaged in the virtual qualifying round. However, the competition was fierce, allowing only 5 elite teams to advance to the final round. In the end, one exceptional team emerged victorious, claiming the top spot.

  • 5 Teams qualified to the finals out of 20 teams – 23 Participants

Congratulations to the BioHack 3D 2023 Winners!

1st Place

Team Korea
New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), United Arab Emirates

Sunghyeon Kim
Seung-Jean Kang
Haram Jeong

LLM Attack Challenge 

With the burgeoning popularity of large language models (LLM), the capabilities of new models are rising, including the ability to pinpoint the vulnerabilities in software and generate code to attack it. The success of the LLM Attack Challenge in CSAW 2023 sets the stage for future editions, inspiring anticipation for continued advancements and innovation in the field of language model manipulation within the cybersecurity domain.

Congratulations to the LLM Attack Challenge 2023 Winners!

1st Place

Ahmad Fraij & Omar El Herraoui
New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), United Arab Emirates

2nd Place

Ulan Kundizbay
New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), United Arab Emirates

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