Over two weeks in early April, upwards of 18,000 students from across the United States learned and honed computer security skills in this year’s picoCTF online hacking contest, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute. The team from Goleta, California—named “1064CBread”—came out on top for the third year in a row.
“I am very impressed by the amount of effort the participants put in and how much they accomplished over two weeks,” said Marty Carlisle, picoCTF’s technical lead and a teaching professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Information Networking Institute. “I’m hoping these students will continue to pursue computer security and that I’ll get a chance to work with some of them here at Carnegie Mellon.”
During a two-week period beginning March 31, over 12,000 teams of students from across the United States attempted to hack, decrypt, reverse-engineer, and do anything necessary to solve 68 computer security challenges created by Carnegie Mellon’s competitive hacking team, the Plaid Parliament of Pwning. Anyone could sign up and participate, but only United States students in grades 6-12 were eligible for prizes.
Major sponsors for picoCTF 2017 include Cognizant, Aetna, Amazon Web Services, and Boeing. Development of the picoCTF platform was made possible by generous grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency.