Cybersecurity in Paradise: AI Lessons Dominate SANS Holiday Hack Challenge 2023

The SANS Institute is excited to announce the 2023 edition of its annual free Holiday Hack Challenge, sponsored by industry giants Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. This unique event opens today and transports the global cybersecurity community to the whimsical equatorial Geese Islands in the Pacific Ocean, where Santa, donning a Hawaiian shirt and surfboard, needs your help to save the holiday season from cyber-attack.

“This year’s Holiday Hack Challenge will dive into the depths of AI-assisted cybersecurity, tackling both offense and defense. Under virtual palm trees, participants will explore the realms of cloud security, AI voice cloning, and web application security, and even venture into the intricacies of threat hunting in the Azure Cloud,” said Ed Skoudis, President of the SANS Technology Institute College and Chief Holiday Officer. “We’re also shining a spotlight on identifying vulnerabilities in space mission software, lock picking, phishing analysis, and securing Azure AD and Secure Shell (SSH) configurations. By completing these challenges, players will save the holidays and expand their cyber skillset in a fun and festive way!”

This FREE cybersecurity adventure includes a range of engaging activities, including a holiday-themed Capture the Flag (CTF) event for all ages and the chance to win fantastic prizes, including an original Game Boy system loaded with SANS Holiday Hack adventures. Participants can also enjoy a built-in virtual conference featuring talks from cybersecurity experts and an original soundtrack of holiday hacking music to enhance the festive and educational experience.

“We’ve been saving the holidays since 2002, and this year, we’re going big with AI,” said Skoudis. “We’re not just embracing AI, we’re integrating it into the core of our challenges because we think every technical cybersecurity practitioner needs to be conversant in AI-related security issues. Players will gain invaluable hands-on experience with AI-assisted cybersecurity and this year’s Holiday Hack may just surprise you with what you learn about AI hallucinations and ethical challenges, too.”

Join the most festive cybersecurity event of the year, where you’ll dive into real-world challenges and a quirky holiday-themed storyline. Create your customized avatar and collaborate with teammates and players globally in this legendary, one-of-a-kind, entirely free shared virtual experience.

Click here to learn more about the 2023 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge and KringleCon – Santa is counting on you!

Want a sneak peek behind the curtains of the Holiday Hack Challenge? Join Ed Skoudis in an episode of ‘Wait Just an Infosec‘ as he gives you a sneak peek and some tips and tricks that could put you ahead of the competition to succeed in HHC 2023.