The SANS Technical Institute’s Holiday Hack Challenge is one of the most popular hacking contests in the world, with nearly 15,000 people vying for the chance to complete the objectives, sharpen and learn new cyber skills. . This year, CyberSN’s Cybersecurity Team, led by Cybersecurity Engineer Travis Deyarmin was one of only 375 participants out of the 14,912 people that entered to complete the 2019 Holiday Hack Challenge, and one of only 3030 to complete a report. Out of those who completed the challenge, Deyarmin was one of only 47 to earn a Super Honorable Mention. He was also a runner-up for Best Overall Answer for his well-received and comprehensive challenge write-up, which you can view here.
What Is the Holiday Hack Challenge?
The SANS Holiday Hack Challenge, hosted by The Sans Technology Institute each December, aims to “bring security professionals, hobbyists, and hackers from around the world in a unique meeting of the minds” to help improve the state of cybersecurity. In 2018, the challenge became part of a new SANS online cybersecurity conference, KringleCon, a free event that also features presentations from leaders in the cybersecurity industry, sharing their tips, tricks, and best practices.
This holiday season, the event took on the festive name, “KringleCon 2: Turtle Doves,” a follow-up to last year’s KringleCon challenge. Each contestant was assigned an avatar and a badge they use to solve 10 objectives. The goal? To search the virtual Elf University, find Santa’s two prized turtle doves, find out who took the birds, and in the process, save Christmas. The contestant had to then formulate a write-up of how he or she solved the objectives by January 13. CyberSN’s write-up clearly shows visually and descriptively how each objective is solved. The write-up can be viewed here.
While Holiday Hack Challenges of the past focused on defending against a hack, this year, the challenge shifted to prioritized defense over offense challenges. “Attackers are getting better and faster,” SANS noted in its closing message. “We need better defense.”
To view the full list of challenge winners, go to holidayhackchallenge.com.