SANS Institute launches SANS Holiday Hack Challenge

The SANS Institute (SANS) annual Holiday Hack Challenge is now open for play. The 2021 Holiday Hack Challenge is a free, cybersecurity online global game where players of all skill levels tackle hands-on cyber challenges to help Santa Claus defeat cyber villains like Jack Frost and save the holiday season from disaster.

“We are excited to present the 2021 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge, our annual gift to the cybersecurity community since 2002,” said Ed Skoudis, President of SANS Technology Institute, and SANS Chief Holiday Officer. “Jack Frost is back this year – he barely escaped justice on a technicality in 2020 – and so we need everyone’s help to thwart Jack’s nefarious plot.”

More than 19,000 players took part last year, and this year’s SANS Holiday Hack Challenge is expected to reach more students and cybersecurity professionals than ever. Participants around the world can join Santa Claus, his Elves, and the Four Calling Birds in tackling various cybersecurity issues that Santa faces. The challenges are designed for players of all skill levels, ranging from beginner to serious expert, from elementary students to cybersecurity professionals, and are a playful way for everyone to advance their cyber capabilities. There will also be quite a few winners: several players will receive cybersecurity goodies, and the grand prize winner will receive a free SANS online training course.

“The SANS Holiday Hack Challenge is a series of challenges that you can use to develop your cybersecurity skills, featuring a mix of cyber defense, offense, digital forensics, incident response, blue team, cloud security, and more. All of the elements combine to create an interactive, social, video-game aspect where players can work together in a virtual world to solve challenges and explore the North Pole,” said Skoudis. “And a bonus for players is the soundtrack featuring some great custom holiday hacking music for you to enjoy while you play.”

The Holiday Hack Challenge takes place together with KringleCon 2021, a virtual conference hosted by Santa at the North Pole, featuring a series of fascinating talks from cybersecurity industry experts discussing the latest information security topics, and some of those talks will even help players build skills to solve this year’s Holiday Hack challenges. Both events take place through December to early January.

To learn more about the 2021 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge and KringleCon, click here.