Earlier this month, Annapolis-based SIXGEN brought home the win from Las Vegas, as a team made up of members from the cybersecurity company won a competition at the DEFCON 27 hacking conference.
The team won the Internet of Things Capture the Flag competition at the conference, which drew more than 200 teams.
“We competed against Chinese, Germans, Eastern European as well as other American teams,” said SIXGEN CEO Ethan Dietrich. “It was not unlike an Olympic event.”
Called SOHOpelessly Broken, Capture the Flag (or CTF) are competitions that put cybersecurity skills to the test, and present a chance to earn points. In this case, the focus was connected devices, and goal was to exploit as many as possible across different network settings, according to an event description.
Dietrich, who competed for the company with a half-dozen other SIXGEN team members, said the win earned recognition for the company on a global stage. A smaller cybersecurity vendor has the talent to support larger corporations, he said.
“We are now recognized as being in a class of the world’s best hackers for the internet of things devices and systems for the next year until the next competition,” Deitrich said. “Furthermore, SIXGEN is a veteran-owned and majority veteran company and it was a chance for multiple disabled veterans here at SIXGEN to test their mental endurance and skill over a grueling three-day event.”
1st = SIXGEN – 52001 points
2nd = flatboardman – 24000 points
3rd = 418 Im a teapot – 23000 points
4th = 5Dimensions – 22000 points
5th = TeamRED – 21000 points pic.twitter.com/Rs0LRRoe93
— IoT Village (@IoTvillage) August 11, 2019
At the same time, Dietrich said the win puts Maryland on the big stage.
“There is no doubt that Maryland has the best hackers in the United States, and our goal was to further solidify our state as the ‘go to’ for cyber security hacking and engineering services and products,” he said.
Along with Dietrich, the SIXGEN team included Erik Hunstad, Lewis Peach, John Adams, Bob Morrow Nick Romonowski and Matt Batten.
There was a Maryland presence in the area where the competition was held, as well. IoT Village, which has a presence at many of the big cybersecurity events, is organized by Baltimore-based Independent Security Evaluators.
At DEFCON itself, Dietrich said there’s plenty of community to find.
“Next year we hope to return again and continue to raise the bar on the competition,” he said. “DEFCON is not only a place where the disenfranchised and largely misunderstood hacking experts go to mingle and share, but it is recognized by the cyber elite as the place to feel at home with kindred spirits. It crosses all economic, industry, sovereign and cultural borders and we want to continue to support this open and collaborative venue.”