There are a lot of ups and downs for in 2023. There were some joyful gatherings and reunions, but at the same time, things did go very wrong.

Despite my reluctance travelling back to Hong Kong, I was motivated enough and went back twice in January and June. Owing to various reasons, it is much harder for me to see the people I care if I couldn’t meet them in time.

Personal Life

I am still working in the same team in Google, which develops security solutions to the contract manufacturers collaborating with the company. This is the first chance for me to look at the assembly lines in the factory, which is pretty exciting.

However, life was difficult in June and I took a month off from work. I am lucky that my friends and colleagues generously offered help, even unsure what happened to me. The latter half of 2023 is packed with different trips and activities and made me less depressed. This included trips to πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ Japan as a visitor, or business trips to πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡­ Thailand for my home team and Japan another time for Hackceler8.

Travel to Enoshima.

Digital Footprints

I am actively participating in the world of Capture the Flag competitions. I wrote challenges for six CTFs (~20 challenges in total), and played by ~40 CTFs.

One achievement of me in 2023 is I won the qualification round Asian Cyber Security Challenge, although I am ineligible to be a finalist. On the challenge development side, I liked the Loot and Scoot and ISA challenges in HKCERT CTF that I spent few weeks to develop. They are not the most technical ones I ever built, but those are definitely my favourite.

Also, it has been a long time for me to attend onsite CTF events as a contestant. I am really grateful that I was invited by @LvChaoShuai to join Black Hat MEA finals as a member of Sand Swimmers. I am able to visit πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¦ Saudi Arabia, which is a unique experience to me. Although destroyed by the CTF, the cats there healed me.

Lovely cats in Riyadh!

Recently, I also attended SECCON CTF Finals in Japan on behalf of Black Bauhinia. This is also another valuable trip this year. It has been six months since I met my teammates in person, and even longer for the ones who no longer live in Hong Kong.

In these onsite CTFs, I was able to meet a lot of hacker friends in person. Although being a introvert, I am really happy to chat with the people around me. The CTF community is energetic and the people are surprisingly nice. I still remember that I discussed with @Quasar0147 in the hotel lobby for two hours on a CTF challenge idea.

Goals for 2024

Looking back at the last retrospective, my objectives were to touch grass and to spend time wiser. The objectives are somehow achieved while I was pretty passive on them… I must be very lucky. For 2024, I would like to set some ambitious goals.

  1. Spend time wiser. It is quite a fruitful year to me, but I still often feel that my time is wasted. I can definitely be more productive.
  2. Be more proud of what I do. In some aspects, I feel that I am too stringent on the projects I worked on, and it is pretty difficult for me to appreciate what they can achieve.
  3. Connect more with the people I care. Being physically distant is tough, but it shouldn’t be an excuse.

I am really looking forward to your return.