It was a hectic competition between the teams in the MITRE’s embedded capture the flag competition. The competition challenged the students to design a secure system and collect a series of ‘flags’ digitally by hacking their competitor’s systems. Northeastern University won the overall competition by making a system for game. “This year, they had to develop a gaming system” says Guevara Noubir.
Guevara Noubir is a Northeastern professor of computer science and director of the Northeastern’s cyber security graduate program. He advised the group who won the overall competition.
“But you don’t want someone to cheat. You don’t want someone to run a game that he didn’t pay for. You don’t want one user to play a game for another user.” Says Guevara Noubir.
The competition took place over three months and the Northeastern students also won the “Iron Flag” for keeping the attackers out of their system. They were also awarded the “Best Documentation” award for having their code clear and understandable.
Noubir measured the student’s success with their use of several challenging cyber security techniques. The interesting thing about the invention was, the students designed a hardware memory encryption that defends their system from attackers deciphering data.
Noubir says,” It’s not easy to build something such that things get encrypted in the processor before they are written in the memory.”
The students patched many holes that they found in the system and secured them. They took notes of their insecurities which were later healed, now using their notes they verified their competitor’s systems for the same and found many.
Giese says, “Being a defender you need to resolve problems in order to win the game.”
The team has decided to use the prize money to fund a trip to DEF CON, an annual hacker conference in Las Vegas. It is also believed that the members of the team are about to start a new cyber security club in order to help a wide range of students to learn and get hands on competition like the one they have won.