PITTSBURGH, Aug. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Carnegie Mellon's competitive computer security team, The Plaid Parliament of Pwning, just won its third title in four years at the DefCon Capture the Flag competition. The win comes on the heels of CMU-spinoff ForAllSecure's win at the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge just days earlier.
The DefCon Capture the Flag competition, widely considered the "World Series of Hacking," was held August 7 – 9 at the Paris and Bally's Hotels in Las Vegas.
"Our team has put in thousands of hours of practice and it is rewarding to see them win amongst the best hackers in the world," says David Brumley, faculty advisor to the CMU team as well as director of Carnegie Mellon's CyLab Security and Privacy Institute and professor of electrical and computer engineering. "Every year this competition becomes harder and harder to win."
Capture the Flag (CTF) is one of the most popular competitive hacking games in the world, with hundreds of smaller CTFs being held annually. During these competitions, teams try to break into competitors' servers while protecting their own. After achieving a successful breach, teams catch virtual "flags" and earn points.
While thousands of CTF teams exist worldwide, only 15 teams representing at least 10 countries qualified for this year's DefCon CTF.
"The consistency of our team's performance over the last four years demonstrates CMU's strength in cybersecurity education and research," says Jim Garrett, dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering. "These students will clearly help drive the next level of cybersecurity."
Carnegie Mellon's win comes at a time that the computer security field is struggling to find suitable hires to join the workforce. These contests give people a place to practice and hone their computer security skills.
"These contests are critically important to developing a skilled cybersecurity workforce," says Brumley.
The Carnegie Mellon hacking team formed in 2009 and began competing in DEFCON's Capture the Flag competition in 2010. Prior to this year, the team held two DefCon Capture the Flag titles from 2013 and 2014.
About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 13,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small faculty-to-student ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real world problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.
About Carnegie Mellon University CyLab: Carnegie Mellon University CyLab (www.cylab.cmu.edu) is a University-wide, multi-disciplinary cybersecurity and privacy research institute. With over 50 core faculty, CyLab partners with industry and government to develop and test systems that lead to a world in which people can trust technology. CyLab stretches across five colleges encompassing the fields of engineering, computer science, business, public policy, information systems, humanities and social sciences.
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SOURCE Carnegie Mellon University