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SANS Announces 13th Holiday Hack Challenge and 2nd "KringleCon"

Kringlecon blog title

SANS has launched its second annual "KringleCon" virtual conference, followed by its 13th Holiday Hack Challenge. KringleCon returns by popular demand, with last year's inaugural conference receiving over 87,000 views on YouTube. As such, it's believed to be one of the largest virtual Cybersecurity conferences to date and SANS hope to welcome even more attendees this year. This year's Holiday Hack Challenge will include both offensive and defensive machine learning challenges — SANS have included more defensive training opportunities to engage a broader audience in the InfoSec community.

KringleCon is a free, holiday-themed virtual hacker conference, complete with speakers and innovative CTF challenges (Holiday Hack). KringleCon also has an overarching storyline, last year an evil hacker locked up Santa's castle and held conference attendees inside the castle. This year the hacker is trying to hack KringleCon to stop it taking place.

You can still view last year's KringleCon and all previous Holiday Hack Challenges here:

With well over 20,000 people expected to participate worldwide this year, KringleCon and SANS Holiday Hack Challenge are prime examples of how cybersecurity education can be made fun and help to engage a whole new generation of cyber professionals as well as advance the skills of existing professionals. Allowing participants to learn from both experts as well as other community members, the Holiday Hack challenges slowly ramp up in difficulty, with hints / talks / blogs provided that share tactics that people can directly apply in their jobs.

With cybersecurity skills in such high demand — 'The Global Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage to Reach 1.8 Million' according to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education — it's important that both industry and governments act to help fill that gap. SANS Institute is addressing this issue head-on by creating compelling and accessible educational offerings to attract a diverse range of people into the profession.

"When Santa invites you to a free hacking conference at the North Pole, you definitely want to be there." Ed Skoudis, Director of SANS Cyber Ranges and Team-Based Training.

Kringlecon boasts an extensive line-up of speakers, including IBM Security's Stephanie Carruthers, Black Hills Information Security's John Strand, Ian Coldwater from Heroku/Salesforce, Dave Kennedy from TrustedSec and Lesley Carhart from Dragos, to name a few. Many more are still to be announced.

And of course, there are top prizes. Holiday Hack Challenge offers a series of awards and valuable educational prizes (ranging from SANS On Demand courses to NetWars Continuous subscriptions) to top participants.

Make sure you follow @KringleCon (Twitter) to be the first to know about the challenges and KringleCon talks and to help defeat the evil KringleCon hacker once more!

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