We just completed our first successful run of the first-ever Rapid7 Hacker Games competition, so I thought it'd be appropriate to do a little write-up on all the fun activities. 

So, what exactly is the Rapid7 Hacker Games competition?

Well, a hacking competition! Specifically, a hacking competition for teams of university students set up via a virtual lab, so all participants could compete simultaneously from a remote location of their choosing. 

Each university fielded a team of up to 5 students who worked together on a set of hacking challenges, and we had 17 participants in total. The teams competed against each other and against the clock to see who could get the farthest within the competition course and set time. The event ran December 5, 2015 from 1 PM - 5 PM Eastern time.

The challenge course consisted of three main components:

  • Hands-on System & Service Exploitation
  • Hands-on Web App Exploitation
  • Trivia Challenge

Students applied real-world skills, tools, and methodologies to overcome a variety of obstacles for each section of the course. This included exploiting systems with Metasploit and Metasploit Pro, among other tools. The challenge was timed, with bonus points for the first team to reach each goal.  So while the core challenge required technical ability, truly succeeding also required teamwork, communication, and collaboration.

The competition itself

Four universities competed in our pilot program:

  • New England Institute of Technology (NEIT)
  • Northern Kentucky University (NKU)
  • University of Maryland University College (UMUC)
  • Western Dakota Tech (WDT)

We had quite a few more express interest that weren't able to participate this round. If you were one of them, please don't worry, there will be more Hacker Games events to come   For this pilot program, we reached out to universities involved in the Rapid7 Higher Education Program, which provides academic licenses and education material for Nexpose Enterprise and Metasploit Pro.

It was a hard-fought competition with many lead changes. At the end of the day, thanks to a strong fourth-quarter surge, one team emerged as the winner: University of Maryland University College (UMUC)!

Congratulations to the UMUC team! And a sincere thanks to everyone who competed.

As a prize for their participation, every student participant was awarded an exam voucher for the MSPCS Certification Exam.  And of course, for the winning team there was a special award: Passes to UNITED 2016. (All in all, about $10,000 worth of prizes were awarded!)

What's next?

This was the first ever Hacker Games competition, and we would love to see it become the first of many. Keep an eye on this blog for more information and announcements regarding future Hacker Games. You can also make sure that your university gets involved with the Rapid7 Higher Education Program.

Thank you and stay tuned for more!