After taking second place in the 2019 Hackathor, a national cybersecurity hackathon for university students, a team of Bilkent students went on to win the 2020 event. The three-member Team NineNine, consisting of Ping Cheng (CTIS), Zeyad Abuamer (CTIS) and Aziz Uktu (CS), achieved first place by designing an online tool for digitally signing content to enable fact and identity verification.
Sponsored by Türkiye Siber Güvenlik Kümelenmesi (the Turkish Cybersecurity League), Hackathor took place November 28–29, with 20 teams from universities across Turkey competing. After 36 hours of work, the teams presented their ideas to a panel of seven judges.
Team NineNine’s presentation included a live demo on a deployed server, which showed the efficacy of their tool. The idea behind it was inspired by the PGP cryptographic authentication model used for signing emails. The tool made it possible for users to create a private key that signs their content and allows their identity to be verified online; it also enabled features like backtracking key usage, expiration of the key, and alerting others of its invalidity.