U.S. Army Team Wants Second Shot at Hacker Contest

U.S. Army Team Wants Second Shot at Hacker Contest
U.S. Army Team Wants Second Shot at Hacker Contest 

By Sumner Lemon
April 24, 2007 
IDG News Service 
Singapore Bureau

A team of U.S. Army hackers will attend the Hack In The Box (HITB) 
Security Conference 2007 in Kuala Lumpur later this year, seeking 
redemption after falling short at a hacker competition in Dubai earlier 
this month, the conference organizer said Tuesday.

The Army Strong team was drawn from members of the 2nd Battalion of the 
U.S. Army's 1st Information Operations Command (Land). The team was 
unable to complete the entry-level round, called Level 0, in a 
capture-the-flag (CTF) competition held by HITB in Dubai this month, 
according to Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran, founder and chief executive 
officer of Hack In The Box.

Unlike other CTF competitions that require teams to attack other servers 
while defending their own, the HITB contest in Dubai only required teams 
to attack servers and retrieve files, called flags, that were used to 
score points. Participants in the contest were also allowed to attack 
each other, but denial-of-service attacks were banned.

"The Dubai CTF was also a pure reverse engineering challenge, with teams 
having to break six levels of increasing difficulty. Level 0 was a Win32 
binary whereas all the other levels were Unix binaries," Kannabhiran 
said. "Teams would progress to the next level by cracking the current 
level, which reveals a password/credentials needed to access the next 

Army Strong was one of three teams competing in the Dubai contest. The 
other two teams were Team Eleet, whose members came from the Dubai 
Police, and NDMTEAM, a group of hackers from Bulgaria.

"The Bulgarians were the only team to successfully bypass level 0. 
However, they did not manage to reverse any of the other flags; as such 
there was no winner," Kannabhiran said.

The lack of a winner means the US$6,000 in cash prizes planned for Dubai 
were not awarded. Instead, the cash prizes will be carried forward to 
the Kuala Lumpur conference, he said.

Hack In The Box has yet to announce details of the CTF contest planned 
for the Kuala Lumpur conference, which will be held from Sept. 3-6.

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