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Note: The contest has ended!

The Details:


As a part of authorized penetration tests of companies' internal corporate networks and external e-commerce websites, you have captured a large number of password hashes, and some encrypted files of various types. The hashes are from Active Directory, UNIX systems, LDAP servers, various web application and/or forums, routers, etc. As part of your analysis, your client has asked for password complexity statistics, what their users are doing right and/or wrong related to generating passwords, and identification of weak passwords. You only have 48 hours to complete this effort.


Prior to the start of the contest, KoreLogic will disseminate a set of files encrypted with a long random string as direct downloads, torrents, or both. Once the contest starts, KoreLogic will publish the decryption string to unpack the files. This way, competitors can pre-download the contest files (some of which may be quite large) so that they are ready to go when the contest starts.

These will contain files of hashes of various types, and also various encrypted files (challenges / hints). Hashes will be things like MD5, Salted MD5s, Blowfish, SHA1, SHA256, SSHA, DES, MD5(md5), NTLM, etc. Challenge files could be any kind of encrypted container file, or system OS image that you must figure out how to extract hashes from, etc.

The passwords will range from being "easy" to extremely difficult to crack. They are not simply randomly generated passwords, which would favor only the person or group with the most GPU/CPU bruteforcing horsepower. Instead, the password files contain passwords based on what we believe are challenging real-world patterns. Passwords will be of varying lengths, patterns, and complexity. Creative password cracking techniques, rules, dictionaries, and tools will be needed. The teams who are smart about the methods they use (i.e., teams who can crack more, with less work) will most likely be the most successful.

Challenge files are worth points for cracking, just like password hashes.

The goal of the contest is simple: score the most points.

Types of Teams:

You have 2 choices in choosing how you compete:

  • "Professional" Teams: Teams of people who want to complete for the cash prizes and all the glory of being the best password cracking team on the Internet. At least one member of each team must be physically located at DEFCON. Note: Pro teams must pre-register.
  • "Street" Teams: Individuals or groups who are more casual. People who want to play around, small teams of 2-3 people who want to compete but don't want to be competeing with the "big guns". These teams are *NOT* eligible for the main prizes but are competing for bragging rights, and smaller prizes to be announced at a later date.
A winning team from each category will be announced at DEFCON closing ceremonies.

Pro Team Pre-Contest Task
Note: Pro teams should register as soon as possible.

At 11:59:50 PM PDT on July 17th, a pre-contest task was sent privately to all registered Pro teams which was due on July 31st, one week before the start of the contest. Teams could still register as Pro after the 17th, but they then had less time to complete the pre-contest task. (It should not take all two weeks to do, and was not necessarily computationally-intensive.)

Scoring Points
Points are earned by cracking hashes and submitting plaintexts. Slower, more difficult hash types are worth more points. For example, FreeBSD MD5 hashes are worth more than UNIX DES; bcrypt (blowfish-based) are worth more than FreeBSD MD5.

The points per hash type will be announced soon after the contest starts.

Teams must provide their results directly to KoreLogic at multiple intervals during the 48 hour contest window. (See the HOWTO for details on how to submit.)


For everyone competing, besides following the directions about how to register and submit:

  • You MAY use as many systems/cores/GPUs/CPUs as you wish.
  • You MAY use systems NOT located at DEFCON.
  • You MAY work with other team members not attending DEFCON.
  • You MUST ONLY use systems that you are authorized to use.
  • You MUST NOT attempt to gain unauthorized access to any system used by KoreLogic or another team.
  • You MUST NOT attempt to interfere with the efforts of another team.
  • You MUST NOT attempt to steal passwords from or techniques/methods used by another team.
  • You MUST NOT be on multiple teams or switch teams during the contest--we will assume you stole all the cracks from one or the other.
  • KoreLogic employees are not eligible for the contest.
  • The files containing the password hashes will not be released until the start of the contest.
For Professional Teams:
  • You must pre-register! We have a surprise prepared for Pro teams, and any Pro team that does not pre-register will be at a disadvantage.
  • Each professional team must have at least 1 (one) member physically at DEFCON
  • To be eligible for a prize, you MUST agree to share your techniques / methodologies and describe the resources/tools used to crack the passwords afterwards.
  • Professional teams roster of member must be FIRM before the start of the contest. There is *NO* trading of plain-texts between the professional and "Street" teams.
Any violation of the rules can result in immediate disqualification from the contest. Any illegal activity will be reported.

Differences from the 2013 Contest:

Please note the following differences from the 2013 contest:
  • Pro teams should pre-register; see above. Suffice to say Pro teams that do not pre-register will be at a disadvantage.
  • Fewer fancy bonuses than in past years (no first-to-crack or most-cracks-per-hashtype bonuses)
  • Many more challenge files, but treated like regular password hashes (i.e. submit the plaintexts just like any other password)

During the contest, KoreLogic will publish updated scores as often as possible.
After the contest ends, KoreLogic staff will validate each submission and will announce the winning teams on Sunday, (time TBD, but certainly before the DEFCON C&E Awards Ceremony). The eligible team with the highest score will be the winner. If there is a tie in total points, the team that submitted their entry first will place higher.

The winning teams will be required to write up their techniques / methodologies, describe the resources/tools used to crack the passwords, and describe any lessons learned.
At the conclusion of the contest, KoreLogic will:
  • Announce the winners and award the prizes.
  • Release the entire password list.
  • Provide statistics on which types of passwords were totally missed by all teams.

KoreLogic will be giving away the following prizes for first, second, and third place in the "Professional" Devision:
  • First Place: $600 (or equivalent item)
  • Second Place: $300 (or equivalent item)
  • Third Place: $100 (or equivalent item)
KoreLogic will be giving away the following prizes for the "Street" Devision:
  • First Place: $100
Good luck!

We will be announcing more details soon. In the meantime, please contact defcon-2014-contest@korelogic.com with any questions.

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