2021 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge & KringleCon

Join the global cybersecurity community in its most festive cyber security challenge and virtual conference of the year. The SANS Holiday Hack Challenge is a FREE series of super fun, high-quality, hands-on cybersecurity challenges where you learn new skills, help Santa defeat cybersecurity villains, and save the whole holiday season from treachery. The SANS Holiday Hack Challenge is for all skill levels, with a stellar prize at the end for the best of the best entries.

The 2021 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge – Jack’s Back!

Welcome to the 2021 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge, featuring KringleCon 4: Calling Birds. This year, we're back at Santa’s castle, but there’s a big new structure next door and talk of a new conference competing with KringleCon!

For an introduction to this year's SANS Holiday Hack Challenge and KringleCon, please watch the adjacent video from Ed Skoudis.

Please join us on Discord where you can chat with other players to share tips in various text or voice channels. You can play solo or team up with others — it’s completely up to you.

Simply click the Play Now button below to register and access the North Pole and all the festivities.

2021 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge Winners and Answers

A shoutout to the players for a job well done figuring out difficult cybersecurity challenges.

DEADLINE EXTENDED — If you'd like to enter the contest for a chance to win a prize, please submit a report with a description of how you solved each objective in the Google form here (requires Google account to access) by the end of the day on January 7, 2022*. Alternatively, if you'd rather not use the Google form, you can email your answers to SANSHolidayHackChallenge@counterhack.com. You DO NOT have to answer all questions to be eligible to win a prize. All reports must be 50 pages or fewer in length.

From all submitted entries, we'll pick nine winners, according to the following plan:

  • Seven random draw answers selected from all entries, regardless of how complete or incomplete they are
  • The most creative answer that is technically correct - ONE SUBSCRIPTION TO NETWARS CONTINUOUS 2 for FOUR MONTHS


Remember, even if you can't answer one or more of the questions, please do submit an answer of any kind to be entered in our random draw. Seriously, if you get 50%, 80%, or 98% of the answers, you'll still be eligible to win.

The seven random draw answers will receive a much coveted, beautiful Holiday Hack T-Shirt from KringleCon.

The best technical answer and the most creative answer each will receive a subscription to NetWars Continuous 2, with 4 months of access to the exciting SANS cyber range to develop skills, have fun, and earn CPEs!

The very best overall answer earns our Grand Prize - a complimentary SANS Online Training course of your choice! The winner will choose from any of SANS' 30+ Online Courses, and will complete SANS training at their own pace from anywhere on the internet.

We kindly ask that you refrain from publicly publishing any answers, write-ups, or walkthroughs until after our submission deadline of January 7, 2022. Once that passes, please feel free to publish!

Happy Holidays!

--Counter Hack and Friends
* Any time zone on planet Earth will do.
**SANS will choose only one winner for the Grand Prize. These prizes are not transferable to another person or event and do not include a certification attempt. Only one course will be awarded per category, regardless of how many people contributed to a winning submission. No substitutions are allowed. For any of these prizes, SANS is not responsible for lost, late, or unintelligible entries, lost connections, miscommunications, failed transmissions, reindeer attacks, or other technical difficulties or failures.

Listen to the SANS Holiday Hack Challenge Albums

Also available on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Youtube Music

SANS Holiday Hack Challenge 2021
Jack’s Back!

Ed Skoudis

Technical Lead:
Joshua Wright

Narrative / Story:
Ed Skoudis & Chris Elgee

World Builder:
Evan Booth

World Wrangler:
Jared Folkins

Evan Booth, Ron Bowes, Chris Davis, Chris Elgee, Jared Folkins, Tom F. Liston, and Joshua Wright

System Builds & Administration:
Jared Folkins

Evan Booth, Patrick Chapman, Chris Davis, Marc Dostie, Chris Elgee, Chris Fleener, and Annie Royal

Voice Artists:
Christy Elgee, Siana Collins, and Ed Skoudis

Challenge Development:
Evan Booth, Ron Bowes, Drew Church, Chris Davis, Chris Elgee, Doug Erkkila, Dave Herrald, Tom Hessman, Marcus Laferrera, Ed Skoudis, Audra Streetman, Audra Streetman, Marcus Stewart, Clay Moody, Tom Liston, Josh Levine, Kevin Tyers, Andy Smith, and Joshua Wright

Chris Elgee & Kendra Pendolino, Mary Ellen Kennel, Ninjula, Ed Skoudis, and Josh Skoudis

Website Design:
Marc Dostie, Tom Hessman

Conference Scheduler and Speaker Wrangler:
Jennifer Santiago

Discord Coordinator:
Marcus Stewart

Swag Designer and Implementer:
Jeremy Kulikowski

Testing and Feedback:

Tad Bennett, Ron Bowes, Sanjay Choudhary, Mike Dopheide, Chris Elgee, Jared Folkins, Vlad Grigorescu, Tom Hessman, Jeremy Kulikowski, Sam Oehlert, Daniel Pendolino, Jerry Salinas, Lynn Schifano, Ed Skoudis, Marcus Stewart, Ryan Williams, and Joshua Wright

KringleCon Speakers:
Ed Skoudis - Host
Andy Smith, Chris Davis, Bjarki Ágúst Guðmundsson, Sean Atkinson, Chris Elgee, Clay Moody, Jay Beale, Kevin Tyers, Mary Ellen Kennel, Nancy Gariché, Tom Liston, Xena Olsen, Jason Blanchard, Qwerty Petabyte, and Google.

Patrick Chapman, Marc Dostie, Michelle Petersen, Joel Anker, and Darren Beare

Extra Special Thank You To...
The SANS Institute

Platinum Sponsor


Watch Last Year's KringleCon

Explore all the videos from last year's KringleCon and make sure to subscribe and hit the bell icon to be notified when this year's KringleCon gets released.