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Hacker Challenge Puts System to the Public Test

By Sneer Rozenfeld - Cyber 2.0


By Sneer Rozenfeld | CEO - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 16:00

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Cyber 2.0 was founded on Agust 2015. When we went out to the market, we saw that there were many cyber solutions out there. And in the marketing world, every company has their own gimic. Some say they will give you insurance and if you get hacked they will pay thousands of dollars for each computer that is encrypted; others say that their response team will negotiate with the hackers for the company. 

For customers, it is difficult to know which solution is the best one for their usage. They can read analyst reports and see what they are saying, they can do a penetration test (PT) but it is too expansive and it is  too weak because when you do a penetration test it relies solely on the company that is doing the PT and how much people they are putting on the task, how much time the customer is buying and how many attack scenarios can be run in that time. And one day later, the PT is no longer relevant because systems and applications continue changing and updating all the time and new viruses emerge every day. 

So, our challenge was how to penetrate the cyber market. 

Every cyber company in the world claims that its system is the best. How many are willing to put their claim to the test of all the hackers in the world? When we went to the market, we saw that there was a lot of competition, so even though we had a great technological advantage, that was not enough. We needed to do something to differentiate our company from other cyber companies in the marketing segment and from PT as well. 

From this notion came the idea to put on a great hacker challenge. Cyber ​​2.0 has been doing this for five years in a row. We decided to put our system to the public test and give every hacker a chance to run any scenario to try to bypass or penetrate a network that is protected by our system. The prize is US$100,000.

The tested scenario is defined as any information security manager’s nightmare: a hacker breaches the security of the organization, disables all existing protection systems, has a user, admin and password, and can now do whatever he pleases in the organization.

During the challenge, Cyber ​​2.0 deploys a network of a few computers, simulating a company’s network. Every hacker gets access to this network, just as if he were part of the organization. He does not need to hack the firewall or disable antiviruses. As for the hacker, he is already within the organization. The only difference between him and the network computers is that the company’s software is not installed on his computer. According to the company, no such hacker will be able to communicate with the other computers on the network.

In 2018, the first challenge took place in Israel. The challenge was published 30 days prior to give hackers time to learn the system, to download the agent and the white papers from the website, and to give the hackers time to prepare for the challenge. We also gave them live demonstrations and showed them the system. 

It was attended by 350 hackers, including soldiers from elite units, who tried for six hours, and there were over a million attacks simultaneously trying to breach the system. It was an anything goes challenge, where any hacker could register and every scenario could be tried.

The Cyber 2.0 team, including CTO Erez Kaplan, assisted the hackers and gave them information. After a long six  hours, the challenge was over and no one was able to beat it. 

We received  a lot of good publicity for the challenge but some said that it was not enough to do it only in Israel and if we really wanted to test the system, we should take it the US and test their hackers.  

In 2019, the challenge took place in the US at the Georgia Research Institute in Atlanta. 

Again, we published the challenge three days prior and invited all the media to come as well – same challenge, same scenario. And again, after five  hours, all the American hackers failed in their attempts.

Since 2020, the challenge has been open to hackers from all over the world. Over 5,500 hackers from 16 countries have tried to attack this system simultaneously. As mentioned, they all failed.

According to Cyber 2.0, no penetration test performed by any company will come close to such a scope of simultaneous attacks.

The third and the fourth challenges took place over the web in live-streaming events, due to COVID-19 when we couldn’t go anywhere to do it since everything was on lockdown. Still, same challenge, same scenario. And again no one was able to beat the challenge. 

It was reported that in the US hacker challenge, a team of expert hackers led by Prof. Bryson R. Payne arrived and demonstrated to all those who were present how to break into a Tesla car. At the end of their successful hack, they stated that nothing could stop them from hacking the Cyber ​​2.0 system. However, they failed. "We felt like people shooting Nerf darts at a castle wall,” Bryson said. Afterward,  Bryson joined Cyber 2.0 as an advisory board member. 

We always say that if we keep doing the same thing, we will always get the same results so we have to try different things all the time. We did it in technology and we did it in marketing. 

Photo by:   Sneer Rozenfeld

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