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Concordia hosts the first Canadian student hackathon dedicated to cybersecurity

MARCH 2–3: @Hack is coming!
January 25, 2024
Two smiling men sitting on a bench in a downtown city area with Christmas lights in the trees in the background.
Aiman Hanna, left, with Anthony Andreoli: “Our vision was for this event to rank among the foremost security gatherings in the country.”

Whether it’s for the guts, the glory or the prizes, there are innumerable reasons to join Concordia’s first annual cybersecurity hackathon on March 2 and 3.

Post-secondary students nationwide are invited to participate in @Hack (“At Hack”), the first Canadian student hackathon of its kind. Programming will be dedicated to cybersecurity, web, crypto, artificial intelligence (AI), “pwning” — to “own” or to “outdo” someone or something — and more.

Cybersecurity enthusiasts will gather at the Sir George Williams Campus in the heart of Montreal for a weekend filled with unique cybersecurity challenges.

The two-day event is co-hosted by TECHNATION’s Career Ready Program and Hexploit Alliance, a student organization that includes graduate researchers from Concordia’s Institute for Information Systems Engineering (CIISE). Undergraduate volunteers will provide additional support.

A group of young, diverse people standing in two rows and smiling for the camera The Hexploit Alliance — back row, from left: Anis Lounis, Alireza Toghiani and Mahsan Etihad. Front row, from left: Dhiaa Elhak Rebbah, Hugo Kermabon, Anthony Andreoli and Ali-Moussa Darkallah.

@Hack organizers say that the event is an opportunity to highlight Concordia’s reputation as a national leader in security research.

“While hackathons are widespread across the country, Concordia stands out with one of the largest, if not the largest, security research labs in Canada. Consequently, our intention was to orchestrate an exceptional and specialized hackathon,” says Aiman Hanna, a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering and also the project’s chief planner.

“Our vision was for this event to rank among the foremost security gatherings in the country, owing to its distinct nature and focused approach.”

The hackathon was created as a platform for students to sharpen their cybersecurity and hacking skills. The event is also an opportunity for students to show off their abilities, win prizes — including cash, laptops and more — and collaborate on a global shared challenge.

“Our aim is for Concordia to be recognized as a central hub for cybersecurity in Canada. The university is already engaged in various initiatives, boasting well-rounded guest speakers and expansive labs that delve into diverse security topics, such as AI,” explains Anthony Andreoli, the logistics lead for @Hack and a PhD student in vulnerability research at Concordia.

“What we don’t yet have is a way of showcasing our talents. This hackathon allows us to share our skills and experience with the rest of the country.”

Participants will compete in teams of two to four in capture-the-flag-style challenges, with the highest-performing teams standing to earn between $750 and $2000 per member. Topics range from AI to reverse engineering.

Adding a unique twist to the competition, participants will not only engage in conventional challenges but also collaborate to overcome a shared adversary unveiled at the start of the event.

Throughout the weekend, teams will also participate in workshops, a career fair, a networking event and a night-time disco on the ninth floor of the John Molson Building.

Students interested in contributing to the organization and execution of the event are invited to become part of
Hexploit Alliance.

Learn more about Concordia’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering.




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