Student hackers must disarm an improvised explosive device (IED) from a terrorist organization before the device detonates, killing United States troops and civilians. That is the fictional scenario for this year’s coding challenge from the National Security Alliance (NSA).
The NSA Codebreaker Challenge is designed for college and university students to flex their coding skills and tackle challenges related to national security. Professors are encouraged to participate in the challenge as well, according to the NSA website. The objective is to help individuals develop their reverse engineering skills, which are crucial in the fight against malware, advanced persistent threats and other malicious cyber activities.
This year, participants will use reverse engineering to disarm a virtual IED and complete a total of six tasks. The challenge website offers nine lectures on reverse engineering, so those with little coding experience can participate. As an incentive, NSA is awarding the first 50 individuals to complete all six tasks with small tokens, while some universities and colleges are offering extra credit for completing tasks.
The challenge opened on Sept. 9 and as of today, there are 102 days left before it closes. Students and professors can still register to participate in the challenge