Students Rank Third in Global Hacking Contest

October 08, 2009

Carnegie Mellon's "Capture the Flag" team won third place at the HackJam Competition that took place on September 19-21. Advised by faculty sponsor Dr. David Brumley, the team is made up of students from the Information Networking Institute, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Computer Science Department.

In Capture the Flag, a common hacker competition, teams compete on the same network to secure their virtual image while also trying to exploit that of their competitors. Teams are judged both on protecting their own services and stealing data from others.

The HackJam Competition was made up of 100 teams from around the world who were challenged with issues related to to binary analysis, reverse engineering, exploitation, Web security and computer forensics. The competition is grueling; it started at 1 a.m. and ran for 48 hours straight.

The Carnegie Mellon team, named "Plaid Parliament Of Pwning" was the first American team, coming in after teams from Vietnam and Germany. Carnegie Mellon solved as many problems as the first two teams.

Prof. Brumley said, "I am very proud of the team. This is the first year running a Capture the Flag group, and this was the first competition we entered.  To do so well at the first competition really demonstrates how amazing our students are."

Plaid Parliament Of Pwning includes the following team members:
  • Sang Kil Cha (MS, ECE)
  • Joseph Ceirante (MS, INI)
  • Jonathon Cooke (MS, INI)
  • Jim Irving (MS, INI)
  • Jiyong Jang (PhD, ECE)
  • JongHyup Lee (Postdoc, ECE)
  • Brian Pak (Undergrad, CSD)
  • Ed Schwartz (PhD ECE, MS INI alumnus)
  • Andrew Wesie (Undergrad, CSD)

The Capture the Flag team is open to all Carnegie Mellon students.