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Fighting Cyber Crime: Call for Technical Solutions

October 6, 2010
By Rachel Eisenhower

In less than 30 days, the U.S. Defense Department will dish out 11 prizes for innovative solutions to real-world challenges facing digital forensics examiners. And it's not too late to join the fight against cyber crime. Submissions for the 2010 Defense Department Cyber Crime Center (DC3) Digital Forensics Challenge will be accepted until November 2.

The public challenge encourages individuals, teams and institutions around the world to provide technical solutions for computer forensic examiners in the lab and the field. Participants can chose from 25 unique challenges that range from basic forensics to advanced tool development. Each challenge level is associated with a total number of points based on the difficulty.

Jim Christy, director of future exploration for DC3 and creator of the challenge, says the initiative addresses real issues with forensic exams at the Defense Computer Forensics Lab by providing research and development resources not currently available. He detailed the contest for the Defense Department's Armed with Science blog.

This year, organizers categorized the challenges as level 100, 200, 300, 400 or 500. Those categorized as 100 are considered very easy problems to solve, while challenges in the 500 series do not currently have a known solution. Christy hopes that someone will step up to develop a new tool or process that will solve these issues for the community.

The Defense Cyber Crime Institute tests and validates the new solutions, and the results, tools and processes will be posted on the challenge website for the public. Commercial companies are eligible to enter solutions. "The more folks we have looking at the problems, the better the solutions and tools we'll get," says Christy.

Winners could receive prizes based on the category in which they are competing. These categories include U.S. overall; government; military; high school; community college; undergraduate; post-graduate; non-U.S. overall; international civilian; international commercial; and U.K. winner.

So far this year, 967 teams have signed up to participate. A team can comprise up to four members. Those interesting in joining the challenge and go to the website for additional information.

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