Competition Names ‘Hungriest Hackers’

Published: November 5, 2010

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Organizers of the Hungry, Hungry Hackers (H3) competition at Georgia Tech selected three winners out of more than 20 participants in the inaugural cyber security contest.

Hosted by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC), the Georgia Tech Association for Computing Machinery (GT ACM) and Georgia Tech Research Institute's (GTRI) Cyber Technology Group, H3 provided a safe and fun atmosphere for both security researchers to hone their skills and for students to try their hand at hacking routines. "A systematic vulnerability assessmentis an important way to discover weaknesses that must be addressed to increase the robustness of systems against such attacks," said GTISC Director Mustaque Ahamad.

School of Computer Science Graduate Research Assistant Shauvik Choudhary took home the top prize, $750 in cash. Computer Engineering undergraduate student Ben Blount and Computer Science Graduate Research Assistant Yeong Jin Jang won $150 and $100, respectively.

Held Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to midnight, the competition was set up in two phases. "We had 23 total participants," said Human Computer Interaction master's student Toni Walden and H3 volunteer. "We set it up as a capture the flag-style competition. Participants were given a range of IP addresses to attack, with varied 'flag' categories, like unpatched versions of operating systems, port knocking, stenography, protocol analysis and Web apps, among others."

Initially, contestants were to be cut after Phase One, with the remainder going on to Phase Two. The competition didn't play out that way, however. Because many students expressed a strong desire to learn mor ethan win money, Walden says they decided not to trim down the ranks. "Instead, we held an information session at the beginning of Phase Two, and told those attending they could participate while being ineligible to win any prizes." Of the 16 people participating in Phase Two, three were "non-compete "participants.

Based on the resounding positive feedback from participants, Walden says the aim is to make this competition at least an annual event, and that event organizers are optimistic to see what H3 could become in the future.