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Monday, March 04, 2024

So you think you can hack?

The Polytechnic Institute of New York University's cyber security ISIS lab will begin its annual Cyber Security Awareness Week capture-the-flag competition at 8 p.m. Sept. 23.

Anyone is eligible to enter a team in the competition. Only undergraduate student teams from the United States are allowed to advance to the final round on Nov. 10.

The 10 teams that advance to the final round will be flown to New York City to compete for cash prizes and scholarships, according to Efstratios Gavas, NYU-Poly cyber security program assistant director.

According to Gavas, more than 100 teams have registered for the competition.

Registration will remain open until Sept. 23.

The CSAW capture-the-flag competition is loosely based on the DEFCON capture the flag competition held annually in Las Vegas and is designed to test competitors' application security skills, Gavas said.

The goal of the game is to collect "flags" by finding vulnerabilities in a computer security system. Once the hacker discovers where the system is vulnerable and cracks a code, a "flag" will appear to the hacker. The team with the most flags wins.

"It's as much of a learning event as it is a competition," Gavas said. "Anyone can play and get a few right, but an interest in computer security is necessary to advance to the competition."

Kathleen Hamilton, NYU-Poly communications and marketing director, said the student-run competition could benefit anyone looking to go into the computer-science field.

"The competition helps the hackers learn as they go and receive valuable information from industry professionals rather than by textbooks," Hamilton said.

For registration, rules and more information about the competition, go to

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