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SANS' Tenth Annual Holiday Hacking Challenge Is Now Live!

Annual year-end tradition helps teach in-demand cybersecurity skills for defending computers and networks

BETHESDA, Md., Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- SANS today announced its tenth annual free holiday hacking challenge. This annual year-end tradition helps teach in-demand cyber security skills for defending computers and networks in a fun and entertaining fashion using classic holiday themes. This year's challenge focuses on defending critical infrastructure systems, including power grids, water systems, and transportation infrastructures, all based on themes from the classic holiday movie, It's a Wonderful Life.

In this modern-day retelling, George Bailey, grandson and namesake of the Jimmy Stewart character from the 1946 movie, is in charge of cyber security in Bedford Falls. Attackers attempt to hack into traffic lights, train control systems, and the water reservoir, but are repelled by George's defenses. But, suddenly, the power grid goes out, leaving the city dark. Participants in the free challenge must match wits with these nasty cyber attackers, analyzing their techniques in-depth to help save the city and George Bailey's life.

Based on the technical infrastructure of SANS CyberCity project, a miniaturized city featuring real power grid systems and other critical infrastructure components, this lively and informative challenge will help participants pick up valuable real-world skills in defending computer systems and the critical infrastructures they control.

The FREE holiday hacking challenge is available here

http://pen-testing.sans.org/info/146475

Ed Skoudis, SANS Institute Fellow and one of the authors of the challenge, observed, "In this challenge, our biggest and best ever, we used the components of the SANS CyberCity project to create something really special. We want to share this with people to help them build their defensive skills."

Josh Wright, co-author of the challenge, said, "Working through this challenge, participants will explore numerous features of CyberCity, the kinetic cyber range SANS built to help train people about the kinetic impact of cyber attacks and how to defend critical infrastructures. They'll analyze numerous attacks against the real-world industrial control systems and related components of CyberCity, trying to figure out how the bad guys targeted and exploited the town." Ed Skoudis completed the thought, "Along the way, they'll also see several defenses that blocked many of the attackers' attempts, and they'll help ensure that George Bailey and Bedford falls have a happy holiday season."

This year's Holiday Hacking challenge is sponsored by SANS CyberCon Spring 2014, a complete SANS training event held virtually across the Internet. Our grand prize for the very best answer is a free SANS course offered at CyberCon February 10-15, 2014, an over $4,000 value! For details and to participate, please visit: http://pen-testing.sans.org/info/146475

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest source for world-class information security training and security certification in the world, offering over 50 training courses each year. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, is a certification body featuring over 27 hands-on, technical certifications in information security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system--the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community.

(www.SANS.org)

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