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Mystery Challenge FAQ

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  • Mystery Challenge FAQ

    So you're sitting there, once again, wondering what the hell this Mystery Challenge thing you keep hearing about is...

    You're tempted to post here, asking once again, what *is* the Mystery Challenge? Why do some people keep calling it the "Mystery Box"? Who the hell is LosT? Why the hell is he obsessed with numbers?

    I *know* the emails will start soon.

    What is it?

    What do you do?

    How do I register?

    Now, a few of the *actual* hackers (in the true sense of the word, mind you) will have sleuthed around, read past accounts, ACTUALLY USED GOOGLE, and you know, gotten the jist on their own. (I said JIST. Dirty minds...)

    Purely for my own sanity, and to keep from answering, yet again, the age old question of what the Mystery Challenge is, I'm posting here-

    1. Mystery Challenge is just that, a M Y S T E R Y. Got it? What freaking good is a Mystery that says up front, "Hello, Mr. Peacock, with the candlestick, in the broom closet, now go enjoy the rest of the mystery!"- Yeah, great for the re-res, not so good for the hacksters. (Ok, translation: you figure out what it is, that's the point. -2 for being slow.)

    2. Yes, this has been a black badge event in the past. Will it be this year? If your only reason for entering is a black badge, I can tell you that this contest isn't for you. In fact, this isn't a contest, it's a "hacker adventure"- you know, like the choose your own adventure books you read as a kid? Only I tell you what page to turn to. Or you can hack the book and turn it into a pizza box. Yeah. Pizza. Honestly I believe the efforts teams put into the challenge each year more than merit a black badge, but for those of us in this for the long haul, that's not really the point.

    3. Registration takes place BEFORE DEFCON. Let me say that again- REGISTRATION TAKES PLACE before defcon. All team spots have filled, rather quickly, every year. I do create an alternates list, and occasionally there are ways to knock your way into the contest the first day. I have had to turn teams away every year, due to space limitations.

    4. The official website for the contest is the site. From that page you can read about blogs and other people's comments on the contest (ie not my biased, yet totally correct opinion). Here is one of the pages from the site:

    Why am I posting this? Because this is meant to be FUN. If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right. (Or you need new batteries.) This challenge isn't for everyone. It takes a *special* kinda person to enjoy this "event". (It takes an even specialer kinda person to keep putting it together each year. Yeah, I said specialer. Deal with it.)

    5. You can find a list of skills that *may have been* useful in past challenges here:

    People with absolutely none of the listed skills have had a perfectly good time playing in the past.

    So there you have it.

    The smart kid in the back of the room is now raising his hand, because he really wants to say, "hey, you didn't tell us how to register!" No, I didn't.