Defcon ups the stakes: Cracking for pinksies.

15 June 2007

Every year at Defcon they assemble a huge computer network and populate it with machines of all kinds as part of a competition. The objective is simple: Crack as many of the system on the network as you can, find the flag (it's a Capture the Flag competition), and defend your turf as best you can. The game requires the competitors to think fast on their feet because they don't know what they'll run into on the CtF network, and they'll be faced with network services that they may never have seen before. The challenge is to find vulnerabilities in those mystery services, write working exploits to get in, and keep moving forward.

This year, they've upped the stakes: If you'll be playing Capture the Flag this year you have to bring at least one of your own boxen. Lock it down as best you can, but leave two services specified by the CtF team running on all network interfaces. If it gets pwn3d, the person who cracked it gets to keep your machine. If you crack a machine on the CtF network, you get to take it home with you. The last box standing wins.

Any kind of machine you've got can be put up for grabs. DEC Alphas. Novell servers. State of the art multiprocessor machines. There'll be at least one Commodore 64 with an ethernet interface and a TCP/IP stack this year. If you can jack it into a data network, it's fair game.