This past weekend (April 14-16), the Ethical Hacking Club and Sandia National Laboratory hosted a digital forensics and incident reponse (DFIR) competition called Tracer FIRE! Students from Auburn, Tuskegee, and Alabama State formed teams of 3-5 and collaborated with each other from Saturday morning through Sunday evening to find out what cyber attacks happened at a fictional company. More details about the competition below!
The overall goal of the event was to provide a hands on learning opportunity for students interested in cybersecurity, particularly in DFIR, to mimic uncovering evidence and piecing together an understanding of attacks like ransomware, phishing, insider threat, and more.
Some tools used in the competition included Autopsy, Kape, Wireshark, Velociraptor, Security Onion, Github, and more. With opportunities like TracerFIRE, students get the chance to use these tools in simulated real-life scenarios to help prepare them for future classes and careers.
After learning about the tools and scenario Saturday morning, teams spent the remainder of Saturday afternoon/evening (and even until 3 am for some dedicated folks...) tracking down pieces of evidence for the attacks in a Capture-the-Flag (CTF) style. Teams had to work together and individually to collect as much evidence as possible AND understand how it all fit together.
Sunday consisted of a few more hours of evidence collection, while the afternoon found the top few teams preparing presentations to the CEO and CIO of the fictitious company where the attacks went down.
While the competition was nail-bitingly-close, ultimately team GOBLINT (Goblin Intelligence) pulled out the victory by gaining extra points from the comprehensive presentation they prepared.
A big thank you to Sandia National Lab (shoutout to Kevin Nauer) for coming onsite to Auburn to host this event! It was a great opportunity, and we can't wait until next year!
We'd also like to thank the ACRC and Dr. Tauritz, as well as all of the students and faculty from other universities that were able to join EHC in this exciting weekend!