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Press Release -- May 6th, 2014
Source: Verizon

2014 DBIR Cover Challenge Solved in 12 Steps

First Place Goes to Team of David Schuetz and Alex Pinto

After more than 20 hours of racking their brains, the team of David Schuetz and Alex Pinto were victorious in solving the 2014 DBIR Cover Challenge.

Having met informally over the Web and through the security community, the winners came together during this year’s challenge. According to David Schuetz, “Alex and I were both trying to solve the #DBIR puzzle. We exchanged tweets and realized that we were complementing each other’s thinking so we decided to team up.”

How Hard Was it To Solve

Using each other as their springboards to solve the puzzle, both Alex and David found the puzzle solving to be frustrating but in a good way.

“Solving the DBIR challenge really gets you to think outside the box,” said David.

According to Alex, he would take frequent breaks in order to give himself time to think. “This way you can break out of your rut when you step back. By working with each other, we were able to overcome our individual obstacles and find the answer.”

As part of the clues, the team had to sift through the entire report. The first clue was embedded within the DBIR back cover through a json (first character in each line) which eventually lead to a pastebin page and later to a fictitious website for Canada State University where puzzle solvers had to “enroll” in the university. In addition, the new “students” had to listen to four lectures to find a clue hidden in one of them. In wrapping up, contestants had to find the final hint in the Incident Database after pulling the clue from the student roster.

The Final Answer

After working through a 12-step process to find the answers, the team settled on the final incident, which was a description of a data breach case that involved two public incidents of SMB’s in California where an external actor stole media assets from the victim area.

Congratulations to David and Alex and the second and third place winners.

1) Team of David Schuetz, senior consultant, Intrepidus Group and Alex Pinto, chief data scientist, MLSec Project.

2) Team of Mike Czumak, Andrij Kuzyszyn, Will Pusterino. All three are information security professionals in the healthcare industry.

3) Michael Oglesby, managing director and principal security consultant for True Digital Security.

Find more information on the 2014 DBIR. And, for those, who didn’t solve this year’s challenge, there’s always next year!

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