Hack a server? Win $100,000

Korea Digital Works wants to reward the first hacker to gain access to one of its servers in a 48-hour competition. The prize is a cool $100,000.

2 min read
A Korean company is offering $100,000 in a 48-hour hacking competition, to be run this week.

Korea Digital Works (KDWorks) will launch the competition, which will involve gaining root access to a server, on April 16 at 11 a.m. Korean Standard Time.

The competition is aimed at demonstrating the resilience of KDWorks' World OK Security (WOKS) solution, according to Justin Kim, an attorney with U.S.-based Mike Choi International Consulting, who is helping to promote the event.

"The company is a small enterprise but their product is outstanding," said Kim. "We found the company is not internationally recognized, so we decided to run the competition."

To enter the competition, participants first have to register on a Web site set up by KDWorks. Alongside their name and e-mail address, participants also have to leave an ID number, such as a passport number or national insurance number, which KDWorks will use to verify the identity of prizewinners. Despite the fact that to win the competition, a hacker must leave their name (which can be a nickname) alongside the ID number on a Web page of the site, Kim brushed aside any concerns over privacy issues.

"Nobody's name will be revealed against their wishes," said Kim. "If people just want their nickname used, that is fine."

KDWorks plans to release the details of the target system two hours before the competition starts. The first person to penetrate the server--which will be protected by WOKS--and edit an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) file to leave their ID and identification number on the front page, will win. A panel of three judges drawn from the press, the information technology industry and academia will arbitrate in the event of any apparent tie or confusion.

If there is no outright winner, the judges may award five prizes of $10,000 to "outstanding competitors" based on the methodology and level of hacking used.

There are rules to the competition: For instance, participants must not shut down the system; they should not shut down services that are being run by the system or do anything that could inconvenience other participants; and they must not overload the system. The full list of rules can be found at the woksdome.org site.

Early Monday morning, Pacific time, the site could not be reached.

The event is sponsored by the Korea Information Processing Society, the Korea ISP Association and the IT Professionals Association of Korea, among others, according to the organizers.

Matt Loney reported from London.