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The Windy City Breezes Through Another Successful Cyber Readiness Challenge

Created: 11 Feb 2013 • Updated: 11 Feb 2013
Pamela Reese's picture
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On February 5, 2013, Symantec hosted another Cyber Readiness Challenge event; the series promotes discussions surrounding the evolving cyberthreat landscape with an end goal of helping organizations mitigate risk and maintain their security posture. Symantec previously hosted games in Toronto, Irvine, California and Dallas. Last week, we brought the challenge to the windy city of Chicago where more than 60 participants gathered at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) campus to engage in an evening of friendly competition. In fact, the setting proved to be an ideal meeting spot, enabling both security research students from UIC and enterprise IT professionals to participate in the festivities.

Symantec’s Cyber Readiness Challenge is an interactive competition – set in a ‘capture the flag’ style environment -- designed to have users with varying levels of technical acumen, perform a series of tasks attacking and defending simulated data centers (similar to that of a hacker attempting to infiltrate an organization). Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response, kicked off the event providing insight on the evolving and sophisticated nature of targeted attacks – leveraging the characters from the Game of Thrones to demonstrate one such attack example (much to the delight of the crowd, which was peppered with fans of the book and HBO television show).

The challenge participants competed for both lucrative cash prizes as well as for bragging rights among their technical peers. During the actual game, many groups were seen working together and sharing insight while still maintaining enough information so as not to jeopardize their position on the leader board. The winner of the $2,500 grand prize was Peter Snyder using the player handle “BITSLab.” When asked how he planned to spend his winnings, Snyder stated he planned to take his UIC BITSLab colleagues out to dinner --  with that amount of money, we’re sure that it will be quite a meal for the group!

Other victors at the event include Rob Shupe (player handle: LordPrestor) who took home $1,000 and Walter O’Connor (player handle: hakman5) who left the challenge with a cool $750.

Haley added, “With another Cyber Readiness Challenge completed in Chicago last week, I can say with great pleasure that the goal of the event – to increase and expand upon the knowledge of cyberthreats and cybersecurity in today’s business landscape – is resonating well among the participants. Watching students and seasoned enterprise IT staff share technology tricks and best practices confirmed why this series of challenges is so important and highly beneficial.”

Symantec partner CDW was on site to talk about cybersecurity, the evolving threat landscape and also provided event attendees with trendy new water bottles!

Over the next few months, Symantec will host additional Cyber Readiness Challenges in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mountain View, California; and New York City.