Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What Project 2 is

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What Project 2 is

    Project 2 is a puzzle contest for individuals or teams who:
    • Are scared of entering a big contest (I was there once, not too long ago)
    • Can't or don't want to put a team together
    • Can't or don't want to devote themselves to a contest for the entire con
    • Or any mix of the above

    Our contest consists of a series of puzzles in several categories. You begin with the easiest puzzle in each category, and progress to increasingly difficult puzzles within a category as you provide successful answers. They're perfect for novices since we design them to teach you skills as you solve them; if you already know the skills, the later puzzles will still challenge you to put things together.

    These puzzles are set up so that you can work on them anywhere once you've retrieved one: you can work on them while waiting in line for a talk, in your hotel room, or while having a fancy dinner with your attractive spouse (this actually happened last year, you nerds). Or you can devote the bulk of your time to Project 2 and compete for whatever fabulous prizes we scrounge up this year's winner. Last year we gave away a box of Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® Crackers, this year might be even cooler.

    Unlike other contests, our staff wants to assist you in solving puzzles. We give out hints and will even outline solutions if you just have no idea (you still have to do the work, though). We want you to learn from this.

    You will need a computer and headphones to do most of the puzzles. Nothing in our contest will hurt your computer, we promise. We can't make any assertions about things outside of the contest, though.

    We may bring back the FM radio transmitter too, so having an FM radio receiver is a good idea. Broadcast frequencies (88-108).

  • #2
    Re: What Project 2 is

    Project2 was one of the most funnest contests last year. It was a lot more accessible at different skill levels than contests like the badge challenge. Lots of interesting little puzzles. I would have gladly spent the whole weekend working on it, but I had to balance my time with all the other stuff going on. (I was leading the scoreboard for a while...)

    Originally posted by zephyr View Post
    Nothing in our contest will hurt your computer, we promise.
    Hehe. So that one file wasn't an intentional zip bomb last year? :) I stopped it after noticing my hard drive filling up with many many gigabytes... but all in good fun.

    I will tell anyone who is interested in playing along that you'll very likely need a "real" computer to compete effectively. I tried solving a lot of the problems using just web forms and my Droid, but if you just have a laptop with [insert ubiquitous Unix utility] on it available, you'll be about a million times more effective. I finally dragged mine out so I could really move forward. It immediately became way, way, way easier. So while you may not want to bring a laptop into DEFCON, you'll likely miss it if you don't.

    I also hope that wee box of goldfish crackers was actually filled with gold. That dude worked his butt off last year.

    Other hints: bring a long extension cord and power strip and people will be your friends.

    Great contest. I hope to see it again this year!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What Project 2 is

      Sounds like a blast...!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What Project 2 is

        What kinds of skills need to be brought to the table to play?
        ======================================
        DJ Jackalope
        dopest dj in the galaxy. *mwah!*
        www.dj-jackalope.com
        send in the drop bears!
        ======================================

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What Project 2 is

          Originally posted by Fletch F Fletch View Post
          Hehe. So that one file wasn't an intentional zip bomb last year? :) I stopped it after noticing my hard drive filling up with many many gigabytes... but all in good fun.
          It turns out that 300+ GB of the same byte compresses really well. But, I mean, you can delete a big file and everything's back to normal. We will try hard to confound you, but it's not our goal to hurt you.

          Originally posted by Fletch F Fletch View Post
          So while you may not want to bring a laptop into DEFCON, you'll likely miss it if you don't.
          Yeah, that is absolutely true, I can't believe I forgot to mention it. You should be able to get pretty far in a couple of categories with a smartphone and pen and paper, but if you want to compete for a top score, you're going to need a real computer. And by "real" I mean "with useful software installed." Unix comes with a lot of useful software installed, out of the box. Windows doesn't even come with telnet anymore (but you can make it useful if you work at it).

          Originally posted by inert View Post
          Sounds like a blast...!!
          Nice avatar.

          Originally posted by DJ Jackalope View Post
          What kinds of skills need to be brought to the table to play?
          It's our hope that people/teams will play in two different ways: to place well within a single category, and to place well overall. Obviously, the former requires a lower investment of time, skills, and resources.

          There will be at least one category that you can slog through with just high school math, the ability to do web searches, and an aptitude for recognizing patterns. One category will be broadcast over FM radio: since you (DJ Jackalope) asked this question, I'll make at least one of the puzzles require a sense of rhythm. In fact, I just got a couple ideas for puzzles that would require DJ skills (and software) to solve.

          Other categories will require knowledge of file formats, executable reverse-engineering, code deobfuscation, code development, test engineer mentality, typical "hacking puzzle" stuff.

          It'll be a lot like last year. What skills am I forgetting, guys?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What Project 2 is

            Originally posted by zephyr View Post
            You should be able to get pretty far in a couple of categories with a smartphone and pen and paper, but if you want to compete for a top score, you're going to need a real computer. And by "real" I mean "with useful software installed." Unix comes with a lot of useful software installed, out of the box. Windows doesn't even come with telnet anymore (but you can make it useful if you work at it).

            There will be at least one category that you can slog through with just high school math, the ability to do web searches, and an aptitude for recognizing patterns. One category will be broadcast over FM radio: since you (DJ Jackalope) asked this question, I'll make at least one of the puzzles require a sense of rhythm. In fact, I just got a couple ideas for puzzles that would require DJ skills (and software) to solve.

            What skills am I forgetting, guys?
            Protip: If you want to prepare your computer in advance, make sure that it has a lot of useful packages installed. I lost a couple hours last year because I didn't have one or another simple utilities installed on my Linux box and couldn't get to a reliable network inside the Thunderdome that is Defcon. It took me way, way too long to install some minor (but crucial) utilities.

            Before DEFCON, if you're on a Fedora-like system, you may try to do something like (as root):

            Code:
            yum install binutils sharutils coreutils file grep bzip2 p7zip unzip xz gimp xxd wireshark audacity-freeworld ffmpeg mencoder
            Which will make you immediately much more powerful, if and only if you know how to use these tools. It's a vague hint, but hopefully within the contest's ideals of "give a h4X0r a hack, and he hacks for a day. Teach a h4X0r to hack, and she will hack your shit mercilessly and relentlessly for a lifetime. Or at least until you are dead."

            Oh, and if you want to win, it's very very useful to have a good programming language to write short programs in. The language that you know best is good. I wrote 4 or 5 short programs in Frink last year which helped me manipulate images, number sequences and raw data, in very few lines of code. Frink is available for download at: http://futureboy.us/frinkdocs/ . Some people may say that Frink is the greatest achievement of the human race, as a team using Frink also decisively won Crash and Compile at Defcon last year, while appreciating the manifest charms of Team Distraction. Sweet, sweet Team Distraction. Project2 should have one of those.

            There are also problems where you have to program proprietary mechanisms. You'll need a modern, full-featured computer for those.

            In conclusion, if there is a puzzle which requires rhythm, I heretofore concede failure right now.
            Last edited by Fletch F Fletch; 05-11-2012, 01:34 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Starter puzzles

              If you're subscribed only to this thread you may not have noticed the word from our sponsors, which contains a few pre-con puzzles. These are worth points at the con, so write down the answers you get.

              Enjoy!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What Project 2 is

                I also found that I could have competed much more handily last year with just my Android phone if I rooted it and installed BusyBox, which turns out to have a lot of the utilities I was looking for. Maybe not enough to compete hardcore, but I would have certainly been able to solve more of the problems while standing in lines.

                BusyBox is pretty cool. Lots of common command-line utils in one executable. A terminal emulator will help you get to them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Planning for the con

                  I just saw a floor layout map. It looks like it's going to be pretty noisy. Bring over-ear headphones or sealing earbuds along with your FM radio receiver! Noise-cancelling headphones would be a good idea if you have them. Basically, you want something that will let you hear the transmission over the ambient noise.

                  It'll be a strong transmission though, so hopefully there will be a quieter area you can go to pick up the signal. Like a hallway or something.

                  Also, we appear to be sharing contestant tables with six other contests, including OpenCTF. I can guarantee those tables are going to fill up almost instantly, so if you were planning on spending the majority of your time on Project 2 (or any other contest, for that matter), you had better stake your claim as soon as you can.

                  We did design every single puzzle to be something you can do wherever you want. OCTF appears to have gone in a similar direction. So past table use may or may not be a good indicator of what to expect at DC20.
                  Last edited by zephyr; 07-20-2012, 12:22 PM.

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X