Winner and Official Answer to 2014 SANS Network Security Brochure Challenge

By Jeff McJunkin

Ladies. Gentlemen. Tim Medin. May I have your attention please? I’m excited to say that the time to select our SANS Brochure Challenge winners has come! If you’ll remember, we started this challenge back in late July and we did something very new – we made the challenge start from within the pages of the actual SANS brochures!

We had some FABULOUS write-ups submitted, and we’d like to thank everyone who took part in the challenge. I was happily surprised to see participants using so many ways to approach the pieces of the challenge. Many folk found even easier ways than what was intended!

So, without delaying any further, I’d like to introduce our categories and winners…

For the best technical write-up, after long consideration between the Counter Hack judges, we’d like to award Dave Lassalle with the prize! Congratulations, Dave! With every successful submission, I reminded the finisher that the technical report could be edited and re-submitted at any time before the challenge closed. After taking some time to recover his breath from his original submission, Dave re-submitted a FRIGGIN’ FANTASTIC report in blog form. His report was so good, in fact, that we’ve made it into the official answers for this challenge.

Dave’s report is available here as well as on his own blog. Please take a look! If you were stuck at any point, Dave’s post should definitely help you out!

For winning the best technical write-up category, Dave will receive a signed copy of the “Counter Hack Reloaded” book, written by the Great and Powerful Oz… er, rather, written by Ed “Will Hack Josh Wright’s Sushi” Skoudis.

Our random draw winner, by the powers of, is Juan Manzano! Juan finished just two days after the challenge started, and included a great write-up. Congratulations, Juan! Juan will also receive a signed copy of “Counter Hack Reloaded.”

Only one person can win our GRAND PRIZE, however – a free, all expenses-paid (digital) four month long trip through NetWars Continuous. Our winner for first place finish goes our first ever DOUBLE WINNER – Dave Lassalle. Dave smashed through our challenge in the very first day it was released, submitted a report, (available here) and then (one can assume) collapsed into sleep. Considering the challenge started on a Tuesday, I think we can safely assume that Dave didn’t get much work done that day!

For being the first to finish, Dave will receive the free NetWars Continuous package, valued at over $2,000! He’ll have plenty of new challenges to develop his skills further while practicing against our online cyber range, especially since NetWars Continuous includes our automated “Stuck-Free” hint system!

Finally, we have two honorable mentions – Patrick Neise and Roy Luongo. Patrick submitted a very detailed technical write-up (available here) that nearly won the best technical write-up category. Roy’s write-up (available here) was also very thorough, and it got bonus points for including Roy’s own set of memes!

Congratulations to all of our participants! We’ll be reaching out to our winners shortly.

–Jeff McJunkin and the Counter Hack Challenges team