Today I talked with Zachary Julian, a student at the University of Advancing Technology, about a competition called Root the Box in Chandler, AZ this weekend, April 7th. Root the Box is a computer hacking (CTF) game that requires skill, speed and team work. Each team must scan and exploit systems on the attack network. If a team successfully obtains remote code execution they can upload a reporting service, which awards them points over time.
Check it out at rootthebox.com or on their FB page. There is still time to register for this weekend's event. Root the Box is put on once a semester.
-Who are you?
My name is Zach Julian, and I’m currently attending the University
of Advancing Technology for my Bachelors in Network Security. I
am also on the Root the Box organizing committee, where I serve
as the security officer for the competition. I have loved
computers for many years, and consider myself fortunate to have
found a good community of hackers here in Phoenix, Arizona.
-What's it like as an infosec student at University of Advancing Technology?
It’s a unique experience- Network Security is undoubtedly the best
program UAT has to offer. We have a pretty tight-knit group of
people within our major, which includes a wide range of skill
levels and specialities. If you’re serious about learning
security, UAT is definitely the place to come. Coming to UAT,
I’ve found the class material to be challenging and useful, my
peers extremely bright, and the opportunities to network
constant. I’m always inspired to attain higher levels of
-How did you get involved with Root the Box?
So far, I have competed in two Root the Box competitions. After
that, I felt it would be a worthwhile experience to help the
competition in some way. Since my current job consists of
Intrusion Detection analysis, I volunteered to set up and
monitor a Snort box during the competition. This is to ensure
that the participants stay within scope during their attacks. ;)
-How long has Root the Box been happening?
This will be Root the Box number 8. During that time, we’ve improved
on everything from the hacking challenges to the scoring engine.
After several years, the competition has matured quite a bit.
-What skills do you hope students get out of participating?
Each Root the Box is an excellent opportunity to refine and expand
your skills a little bit more. Hacking is the same as any skill
- reading and thinking about it will give you some knowledge,
but there’s no replacement for actual experience. That is why we
so strongly encourage people interested in security, at all
levels, to participate in Root the Box.
Newcomers to hacking will benefit the most - Root the Box features
challenges that draw from all types of digital security, from
reverse engineering to web applications. If security or
penetration testing is your intended career path, Root the Box
will show you what to expect and where to focus your learning.
-How can people get involved?
Come compete! Anyone interested in volunteering for Root the Box will
be able to meet our staff and get a good idea of just what goes
into putting on this competition. More specifics are available
Thank you Zachary for filling us in on this very cool competition! Good luck this weekend!