"Capture The Flag" Wraps Up 2012 U.S. Cyber Challenge Summer Boot Camp

"Capture The Flag" Competition Wraps Up 2012 U.S. Cyber Challenge Summer Boot Camp

A three-and-a-half hour time crunch and heart-pumping trance music playing in the background was not enough to thwart members from the winning team, 1stworldproblems (Robert Bain photo).

By Amanda Holst, Pubic Affairs Assistant

Forty-six campers, ages 18 to 40, competed Aug. 10 in the “Capture the Flag” competition, wrapping up the U.S. Cyber Challenge Northern California Cyber Security Summer Boot Camp.

Contestants, working in teams of threes and fours, raced to hack into nine servers, using individual skill sets and what they learned at camp to capture files, passwords or any other flags containing secure information.

A three-and-a-half hour time crunch and heart-pumping trance music playing in the background was not enough to thwart members from the winning team, 1stworldproblems.

“There were a number of instances where we went a while without accomplishing anything,” said Cal State San Bernardino computer science senior Paul Cummings. “Our approach was to try not to stress out and try to look at things in a different way.”

The camp was supported in part through sponsorships with Juniper, Avue Technologies, Safegov.org and partnerships with SANS Institute, Booz Allen Hamilton, and San Jose State University.  Local sponsors include Facebook, McAfee, nCircle, Symantec, Veracode and Visa.

The objective of the penetration exercise, arranged and monitored by the U.S. Cyber Challenge, was more than taking over target machines.

“It’s a test to assimilate and test the vulnerabilities of a system,” Teaching Assistant Alex Levinson said.

“Shake In Your Pants Factor”

According to Levinson, the purpose of the competition was to get rid of the “shake in your pants factor” in order to offer preparedness for real-life work experiences.

Top SANS Institute instructors and other cyber-security experts in the field taught classes for the week. Topics included forensics, security testing and vulnerability assessment.

Jordan Jennings, ’12 Computer Science’, was one of two students representing SJSU in the competition.

“It was nice to be exposed to the competition and have an idea of what it might be like in the future if I wanted to” pursue cyber security work, Jennings said.

Cyber security consortium ISC2 awarded each of the capture-the-flag winners $1,000 scholarships.