Sharpening your weapons in a digital world: A new approach to security at GeekPwn 2018

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As devices get more powerful and increasingly complex, we need to put in place competent safeguards to protect what we value in the new digital world: our privacy, our data and our identities. Stealing something that we take for granted might sound like something out of a movie but rest assured that this future is not likely to be far off.

On a personal up to a national level, the need for strong cyber development is now greater than ever. Chinese-led technological advances are currently leading innovation in the areas of core technologies, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI), all of which are needed to support the development of stronger and more robust cyberspace enterprises.

AI is especially pertinent to this wave of change as newer technologies are increasingly more reliant on the processing and discerning power of algorithms to execute more complex operations. Many experts in the field such as Baidu President Zhang Yaqin have suggested that China will lead the world in AI in the near future and attributes it to having a very receptive and nurturing environment for AI development and experimentation. Every year, China sees increasing numbers of new unicorns, and the quickest moving companies, those that come out on top, are currently the ones that optimize the power of AI.

So how do we secure the new digital resources against hackers? The solution, in our opinion, is found in an old saying: “As iron sharpens iron, so does one person sharpen another”. In the world of people fueled by code and caffeine, there will always be a place for some friendly competition.

Through the 2018 GeekPwn Cybersecurity x AI Contest, Mr. Wang Qi, Founder of the GeekPwn Challenge, hopes to share a new approach to technology, using the term “frienemies” to describe the relationship between hackers and AI. Simply put, white-hat hacking and operating frameworks such as AI share a symbiotic relationship, and that improving one will inadvertently improve the other. However, if not managed well, AI can also have the capability to destroy our way of life. GeekPwn aims to foster trust and cooperation between the world’s leading hacker communities and to influence their abilities into a force for good.

At the upcoming GeekPwn 2018 edition, audiences will see first-hand how this relationship plays out, and how it can be used to improve our lives. Started in 2014 by the KEEN team, China’s most successful hacking collective, the GeekPwn contest is dedicated to encouraging global security experts to exploit the unknown vulnerabilities of the cyber world, and helping manufacturers improve their security systems.

As one of the world’s leading platforms for cybersecurity researchers, GeekPwn will enable security researchers and executives around the world to share their thoughts and findings on cutting-edge and future technology applications, including infrastructure, internet protocol, mobile payment, IoT, and AI.

GeekPwn will be returning to Las Vegas this 10th August 2018, along with a carnival session in Shanghai in October. Special Challenges include Competition on Adversarial Attacks and Defenses (CAAD), AI Data Tracking Challenge, Hacker Room Challenge, Robot Agent Challenge and PWN Everything Challenges, but in Las Vegas, the audience will be treated to three main challenges.

Competition on Adversarial Attacks and Defenses (CAAD)

CAAD (Competition on Adversarial Attacks and Defenses) is organized by the GeekPwn committee, Alexey Kurakin, Ian Goodfellow from Google Brain and Professor Dawn Song from UC Berkeley EECS.

CAAD focuses on image recognition, which consists of three sub-competitions. Participants can select any one to three of them to join. The 3 sub-competitions are: Non-targeted Adversarial Attack, Targeted Adversarial Attack, Defense Against Adversarial Attack.

Robot Agent Challenge

The Robot Agent Challenge will examine each team’s ability to build a robot agent that can successfully infiltrate a simulated lab environment. Contestants are challenged to control the robots to bypass an office’s laser intrusion detectors and surveillance cameras, leave a covert listening device, open a digital keypad safe, and boot target computers from USB devices.

Non-Vulnerability based PWN

The PWN Everything Challenge will see challengers use creative ways to identify vulnerabilities in our commercially available or widely used smart devices, AI products, libraries, frameworks or IoT products. The Non-Vulnerability based PWN calls for attackers to use new creative methods without exploiting target systems’ vulnerabilities.

These challenges have always been real crowd pleasers and have helped many international companies such as Tesla, Microsoft, and Sony find and secure vulnerabilities that might have otherwise been exploited.

Overcoming these challenges is what will enable a more secure and better future for all in this tech-dependent world. For more information, check out the rules and challenges at GeekPwn.org, or email the organizing team at cfp@geekpwn.org directly. See you in Las Vegas!