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The Ultimate Hack

Hack-A-Sat Space Security Challenge

The US Air Force and Space Force, in partnership with the Defense Digital Service invited cybersecurity researchers (hackers) to apply their skills and competitive nature in an all-out satellite security challenge. Intended to ignite cyber-military interest, increase public and industry awareness, and advance the science for cybersecurity in space, Space Security Challenge: Hack-A-Sat, was the first of its kind. ​

How We Got THERE

We created a completely unique community and language for Hack-A-Sat (HAS) with the DEF CON look and feel, encouraging these codebreakers to unleash their cyber-skill solutions on a real ‘in-orbit’ satellite. The campaign started with a Qualification Round with over 6,000 competitors, which then broke into 2,213 registered teams. ​ ​

When in-person DEF CON 28 became 100% virtual DEF CON Safe Mode 28, we designed and built a unique 3D environment called “The Hackers Den,” a multi-room virtual environment where participants could watch the teams’ progress, learn about cybersecurity in space, and participate in other interactive activations.

As part of our community-building efforts, we created a series of workshops for non-competitors to learn, network and challenge each other online, leveraging TWITCH live streams, chat panels and programming code. The team worked with DDS to hardwire physical objects (LEGO airplanes) to the virtual environment.

 

Lasting Results

We saw a total of 6.5K unique visits and 22.4K engagements across chats, video views, game plays, twitter views, graffiti views, telescope views, contest content views, room visits, and the like. It was so popular, hacking personality Scott Manley even created a video that covered and promoted HAS for his 1.28M subscribers. ​ ​

And we were THERE.

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