Monday, April 28, 2008

Security Vendors Bash Defcon's "Race to Zero" Contest

There will be a new contest at the Defcon hacker conference this August called "Race to Zero," the contest will invite Defcon hackers to find new ways of beating antivirus software.

The announcement of the contest has security vendors in an uproar. "It will do more harm than good," said Paul Ferguson, a researcher at antivirus vendor TrendMicro. "Responsible disclosure is one thing, but now actually encouraging people to do this as a contest is a little over the top."

According to what I read on the Race to Zero site security and antivirus vendors are taking this way to seriously. After all contestants are going to be given a sample set of viruses and malcode that is already know, they then have to modify and upload through the contest portal. We are talking about a contest that is seeking to create new viruses or malicious code.

"We are not creating new viruses and modified samples will not be released into the wild, contrary to the belief of some media organizations. Above all we want the contestants to have fun!"

The contest is not organized by Defcon, but is one of the unofficial events that the show's organizers have encouraged attendees to arrange. It is unclear of what the contest winners will receive however according to organizers awards will be given for "Most elegant obfuscation," "Dirtiest hack of an obfuscation," "Comedy value" and "Most deserving of beer."

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