Learn important cybersecurity skills in NSA’s Codebreaker Challenge

NSA’s fifth annual Codebreaker Challenge is a hands-on, software reverse engineering challenge in which students work to complete mission-focused objectives and push their university to the top of the competition leaderboard.

The contest asks undergraduate and graduate students to do hands-on exercises that will help them develop their reverse-engineering and low-level code analysis skills while working to solve a sequence of realistic, yet fictitious, problems.  The fictional backstory involves a request from the Department of Homeland Security for assistance investigating unusual network activity within a large supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

Feedback from previous iterations of the challenge showed that students were able to learn a great deal from participating. Each student receives a slightly different set of challenge binaries and associated files, so that one student’s solution won’t work for someone else. The binaries are similar enough so that students can work together to understand the problems and   develop approaches to solutions and hen implement them independently and register their results.

UMBC students did well, both individually and as a group, in pervious challenges.  Let’s make it to the top of the leaderboard this year.

  • The challenge is hosted at https://codebreaker.Ltsnet.net
  • The challenge began on September 15th and end on December 31st
  • Students register for the challenge at2017 Codebreaker Challenge using their umbc.edu email addresses
  • The challenge website has nine lectures on reverse engineering, so students with little coding or cybersecurity experience can participate