NSA CyberSprint Results
So, I put off writing this for personal reasons, but figure why not finally post it now. I regularly try my hand at competitions related to hacking and Information Security in general. I find they are a good way to see how you stack up against others and get an idea of where your weak points are.
In the past, I have been part of many CTF events, DC3 Challenge (team 01123581321), and others. Last year I tried my hand at the 2015 NSA CyberSprint challenge. This one turned out to be pretty fun. I got a chance to compete with a few thousand people. You got awarded points based on your answers and how you got that answer.
The actual challenges were varied. It was everything from decrypting basic data, to steganography, web application exploitation, and network exploitation. It was a really fun challenge. I used it as an opportunity to write my own tools for most of the complex tasks, such as exporting data from a dethatched registry hive (not an exported registry, the raw hive), decryptions, etc. and that gave me a chance to get my hands back on coding things related more to hacking.
The entire process was broken up into two steps. Everyone that wanted to participate, was allowed to in Phase 1. In that phase, most everything was just simple questions and accessing data. The top 1000 people from Phase 1 were allowed to compete in Phase 2.
I made it through Phase 1 and overall, I think I did well. I ended up getting 20th place in Phase 2. I would have liked to get higher (top 10), but I am just happy I got to participate. I look forward to doing more of these in the future.
If you know of any competitions like this, please let me know as I would love to participate.