The Internet of Things to take a beating in DefCon hacking contest

Hackers will compete on findings flaws in off-the-shelf Internet-enabled embedded devices

Hackers will put Internet-connected embedded devices to the test at the DefCon 23 security conference in August. Judging by the results of previous Internet-of-Things security reviews, prepare for flaws galore.

This year, DefCon, the largest hacker convention in the U.S., will host a so-called IoT Village, a special place to discuss, build and break Internet-of-Things devices.

"Show us how secure (or insecure) IP enabled embedded systems are," a description of the new village reads. "Routers, network storage systems, cameras, HVAC systems, refrigerators, medical devices, smart cars, smart home technology, and TVs -- If it is IP enabled, we're interested."

The village will be organized by a company called Independent Security Evaluators (ISE), which ran a router hacking contest called SOHOpelessly Broken at the conference last year. That contest resulted in fifteen new vulnerabilities being discovered in five popular wireless router models. Building on its success, the company will now extend it to all IoT devices.

To qualify for a prize, participants will have to find previously unknown -- 0-day -- vulnerabilities in popular off-the-shelf Internet-enabled devices and demonstrate working exploits for them. They'll need to show proof that they reported the flaws to the affected manufacturers before presenting them at the contest, which means that they can register their findings with the contest organizers in advance.

Even if a vendor patches a reported flaw ahead of the contest, if the exploit was registered with the contest organizers in advance, it will qualify.

There will also be a surprise contest that will be revealed during the conference and a separate objective-based contest based on the Capture the Flag model. In addition to the contests, the IoT Village will host workshops and talks about IoT device security, defenses and management.

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