Wednesday, 22 January 2014

SANS Holiday Hack Challenge 2013 - Honorable Mention

So last year, i was introduced to this Holiday Hack Challenge organized by SANS and i took part in it. With a career as an Ethical Hacker and graduated from a Cyber Forensics Degree, i took this challenge to see how i can exploit my knowledge to answer this.

Well, it wasn't easy of course. Given just a PCAP file, i need to analyze, figure out the chain of events, create hypothesis and find evidence of attacks and finally suggest solutions on how to prevent this.

I spent over 3-5 nights using various PCAP analysis tools such as Wireshark, Network Miner, Xplico and Netwitness Investigator. One of the challenges i faced was the timestamp of the PCAP file. Since this PCAP file was created from the US, i only realized it 2 nights later that my Computer clock and Timezone settings was affecting the chain of events. Once i set it to the US timezone, then the chain of events made sense.

After completing the challenge, i submitted to SANS and the next day, i got a reply from Ed Skoudis! It was a compliment about my submission and it made me very confident about being one of the 4 winners.

When the results were out, i was a little disappointed that i didn't manage to get any of the top 4 positions. I looked at the answers by the Winners and i was shocked and satisfied..they were really in detail, diving deep into the technicalities of their analysis. They even managed to find something that i overlooked! A huge KUDOS to them! Truly deserved winners! 

But not all was gloomy for me. When i scrolled down under the section 'Honorable Mentions', i was excited to see my name was among the many other honorable submissions! This was what mentioned:

"Fadli B. Sidek: Fadli's response was amazingly detailed, lavishly illustrated, and beautifully formatted. It's an awesome entry from an obviously gifted information security analyst who knows how to convey information extremely effectively. This answer also pulls in the little lulzsec cartoon character near the end, to good comedic effect."

It made my day and put me in a cloud 9 for a while! I was happy that my nights spent to do this got rewarded! Anyhoo, i would like to share the report i submitted to SANS:

Special thanks to Ed Skoudis and the whole SANS team for organizing such as great challenge for all the nerds and geeks out there! Looking forward to participate in more challenges like this!

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