Azercell’s Cybercell Team Marks a Milestone in Azerbaijan’s Cybersecurity



The Critical Infrastructure Defense Challenge (CIDC-2023) – a groundbreaking competition held at the Baku Congress Center on October 26-27, 2023 – is becoming a flagship event in Azerbaijan’s cybersecurity realm. Sponsored by the State Service for Special Communication and Information Security and in collaboration with the State Security Service and the Association of Cybersecurity Organizations of Azerbaijan (ACOA), CIDC-2023 stood as a testament to the country’s commitment to fortifying its cybersecurity landscape.

This competition is a virtual battleground that mirrors cyber-attacks and assembled talents from various sectors: state institutions, educational entities, telecommunications, and banking. Standing out among the participants was the Cybercell team from Azercell’s Security Department, composed of Vusal Hasanov, Amiraslan Guliyev, Javid Jabbarli, Ahmet Hajili, and Chingiz Balabeyov, who secured the team the distinguished position of Vice-Champion.

Of the 41 teams representing critical infrastructure entities, 20 advanced to the final stage by demonstrating their expertise in defending against simulated cyber threats. Ismayil Eyyub, a member of Azercell’s Security Department, won first place among 136 participants in the individual Capture the Flag category, further emphasizing Azercell’s expertise in cybersecurity. This specialized challenge included categories like Crypto, Web, Reverse Engineering, OSINT, and more. With over 20 questions varying in complexity, participants were evaluated on hacking prowess as well as their broad IT acumen.

Fuad Safarov, the head of Azercell’s Security Department, has praised the team’s excellent performance for highlighting the company’s unwavering commitment to protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Mr. Safarov also commended Ismayil Eyyub’s individual accomplishment and extended wishes for his continued success.

Ismayil Eyyub also highlighted the importance of such events, advocating for collaborative initiatives to accelerate Azerbaijan’s cybersecurity growth. According to Eyyub, “Such occasions not only propel the economy but also cultivate interest among aspiring cybersecurity enthusiasts while boosting the capabilities of professionals”.

Cybersecurity stands as a cornerstone of Azerbaijan’s strategic focus, underscored by President Ilham Aliyev’s endorsement of the 2023-2027 Strategy for Information Security and Cybersecurity. The CIDC-2023 event marked a pivotal moment in the country’s cybersecurity narrative, bringing together industry professionals, experts, and aspiring students to display their skills and knowledge.

The Cyberwar tournament, composed of two qualifying stages and a grand finale, tested teams’ abilities to fortify systems against virtual assaults. Azercell’s team dedicated weeks to strategizing, addressing vulnerabilities, and honing defensive measures, ultimately securing victory thanks to their meticulous preparation and diligence.

CIDC-2023 consisted of more than just intense competitions, also offering training and seminars that fostered knowledge exchange and collaboration among participants. Noteworthy was the emphasis on comprehensive security, focusing on fortifying established systems against potential threats rather than attacking the threats.

Azercell’s success at CIDC-2023 demonstrates the company’s commitment to cybersecurity. With resolute support from leadership, this domain has burgeoned into a critical facet of Azercell’s operations while also contributing to the nation’s cybersecurity framework.