2022 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. 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 2022 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge

Welcome to the annual SANS Holiday Hack Challenge, featuring KringleCon, is a FREE series of super fun, high-quality, hands-on cybersecurity challenges for all skill levels. This unique experience includes real-world challenges and a quirky holiday-themed storyline where you get to save the holiday season from a cyber-attack. You can create your customized avatar and partner with teammates, friends, and players from around the globe in this one-of-a-kind shared virtual experience.

The SANS Holiday Hack Challenge includes a built-in virtual conference called KringleCon. Now in its fifth year, KringleCon V: Golden Rings features fascinating talks from cybersecurity industry experts on the latest and most relevant infosec topics (some of which will help you solve the SANS Holiday Hack Challenge). Plus, Santa will share a playlist of newly minted holiday songs to inspire your cybersecurity work.

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.

2022 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge Winners and Answers

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

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 6, 2023*. 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 ten 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 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, 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 6, 2023. 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.


SANS Holiday Hack Challenge 2022

Ed Skoudis

Technical Lead:
Greg Bailey

Narrative / Story:
Ed Skoudis, Eric Pursley & Chris Elgee

World Builder:
Evan Booth

World Wrangler:
Jared Folkins

Evan Booth, Chris Davis, Chris Elgee, Jared Folkins, Tom F Liston, Kevin McFarland

System Builds & Administration:
Jared Folkins

Evan Booth, Patrick Chapman, Chris Davis, Chris Elgee, Anna Elgee, Emma Elgee, Josh Elgee, Rebecca Howard, Tom F. Liston, Annie Royal, and Eric Pursleyl

Voice Artists:
Ed Skoudis

Challenge Development:
Evan Booth, Chris Davis, Chris Elgee, Jared Folkins, Tom F Liston, Melisa Joyner, Greg Bailey, Kevin McFarland, Eric Pursley, and Josh Wright

Frankie Cicala, Vance Villastrigo, Bernie Dippolito, Mary Ellen Kennel, Ninjula, Ed Skoudis, and Josh Skoudis

Website Design:
Jared Olson

Conference Scheduler and Speaker Wrangler:
Patrick Chapman

Discord Coordinator:
Chris Elgee

Swag Designer and Implementer:
Rebecca Howard (Designer), Patrick Chapman, Lynn Schifano (Implementers)

Testing and Feedback:

Kapil Agrawal, Greg Bailey, Mike Dopheide, Chris Davis, Chris Elgee, Jared Folkins, Vlad Grigorescu, Tom Hessman, Melisa Joyner, Chet Kress, Kevin McFarland, Sam Oehlert, Eric Pursley, Lynn Schifano, Derek Lidbom, Derek Lidbom, and Ed Skoudis

KringleCon Speakers:

Ed Skoudis - Host

Mark Baggett, Melissa Bischoping, Chris Elgee, Jared Folkins, Chris Lemmon, Tom Liston, Qwerty Petabyte, Eric Pursley, Rajvi Khanjan Shroff, Antoinette Stevens

Joel Anker, Darren Beare, Rachel Copp, Georgina Davies, Marc Dostie, Cecilia Eklund, jenn Elston Debra Gawet, Elizabeth Glomb, Rebecca Howard, Laura O'Connor, Nick Maus, Michelle Petersen, Brett Synder, Katie Thomas, Marie Tully, and Jennifer White

Extra Special Thank You To...
The SANS Institute