PITTSBURGH, PA -- Carnegie Mellon's competitive computer security team, The Plaid Parliament of Pwning, just won its third title in four years at the DefCon Capture the Flag competition. The win comes on the heels of CMU-spinoff ForAllSecure's win at the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge just days earlier.
The DefCon Capture the Flag competition, widely considered the "World Series of Hacking," was held August 7 – 9 at the Paris and Bally's Hotels in Las Vegas.
Capture the Flag (CTF) is one of the most popular competitive hacking games in the world, with hundreds of smaller CTFs being held annually. During these competitions, teams try to break into competitors' servers while protecting their own. After achieving a successful breach, teams catch virtual "flags" and earn points.
While thousands of CTF teams exist worldwide, only 15 teams representing at least 10 countries qualified for this year's DefCon CTF.
Carnegie Mellon's win comes at a time that the computer security field is struggling to find suitable hires to join the workforce. These contests give people a place to practice and hone their computer security skills.
The Carnegie Mellon hacking team formed in 2009 and began competing in DEFCON's Capture the Flag competition in 2010. Prior to this year, the team held two DefCon Capture the Flag titles from 2013 and 2014.