The annual Emerging Professionals in the Intelligence Community (EPIC) App Challenge is now open and invites corporate and individual contestants to showcase their analysis, critical thinking, and expertise in front of an audience of technical leaders and senior executives within the Intelligence Community. The challenge is sponsored by Microsoft and hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance and AFCEA.
In previous years, EPIC’s annual competition focused exclusively on the development of software applications to address specific and relatively narrow national security technology challenges. With the increasing severity, complexity, and frequency of state and non-state cyber attacks to steal, malignly influence, and damage public and private sector targets, the 2021 EPIC Challenge has broadened the aperture of acceptable solutions to include not only custom software applications, but also demonstrations of security techniques and digital forensics.
The objective of this year’s Challenge is to identify, describe, demonstrate, and defend against a modern cybersecurity threat. A software application is not required; however, the solution should demonstrate the following capabilities through a live demonstration:
- Identify – Domestic and international news organizations are frequently reporting on various cyber “attacks” on people, companies, and governments. These attacks range from simple phishing emails to complex multi-surface exploits. Find an example of one of these attacks to use in your challenge solution.
- Describe – Each attack, or series of attacks, has unique characteristics. Find the unique characteristics of your identified attack and describe how it works, who the targets are, and what type of actor generally engages in this type of attack.
- Demonstrate – Give a visual representation that describes the specific features of the attack.
- Defend – Every cyber threat can be defended from escalating into an attack. Using your identified attack, demonstrate how you can mitigate escalation. There should be an emphasis on creativity, scalability, and usability.
The deadline for team registrations is 5p.m. EDT, August 20. The first place award is $5000. Data sets will not be provided. Participants must independently collect and use data from organizations and sites such as CISA National Cyber Awareness System, NIST National Vulnerability Database, and U.S. Cyber Command.
Participants will be assigned a 20-minute time slot to demonstrate their solutions to the judges. Judges include Colonel Candice Frost – Commander at U.S. Cyber Command; Lisa Bennett – Senior Intelligence Officer/Adviser, Assistant G2, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; and Yvette Nonte – National Defense Strategy Integrator Warfighter Support, Combatant Command Intelligence Support, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security.
Judging will be done virtually on the afternoon of Friday, September 10, 2021. Technical and scheduling details will be provided prior to the event. Winners will be announced during the in-person Intelligence and National Security Summit, which begins at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, September 13.