GeekWeek Blog – October 2018

The launch of GeekWeek V is fast-approaching.  Held this year from October 18-26 in Ottawa, Canada, this annual international cyber security workshop was started by the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre (CCIRC) in 2014. As CCIRC is now part of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, we’re excited to share this innovative event with our partners and stakeholders.

The method of GeekWeek is simple: present cyber security challenges to technical professionals and students, provide data and existing tool sets, then ask attendees to work in teams for nine days to solve the challenges. Participants will conduct intensive research and development to build tools that can prevent, identify, analyze or mitigate a cyber attack.

This year is the fifth year for GeekWeek, and its biggest one yet. What started out with 24 participants in 2014 has grown to more than 200 cyber security enthusiasts for this year’s edition, and has expanded from a three-day workshop to a nine-day event. Last year’s participants invested 12,500 working hours in GeekWeek – the equivalent of six employees working full-time for a year.

GeekWeek participants come from Canadian critical infrastructure sectors, academia, law enforcement, the cyber security industries, our internal partners and all levels of government to tackle cyber security challenges faced by the cyber security community.

With a focus on innovation and collaboration, and with a solution-oriented approach, the results of previous GeekWeeks have been unique projects and valuable security solutions for cyber-related industries. Past research and pilot projects focused on a variety of topics: malware detection tools; spam and log analysis; mobile malware analysis systems; cyber-attacks conducted through web browsers; information sharing technologies and standards; Internet of Things hardening; automated malware analysis; and much more.

To date, GeekWeek events have produced several tools currently in production at the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and used by GeekWeek participants to actively analyze cyber threats in the real world and better protect the cyber space.

An event of this size can only be staged with the assistance of strong partners. As with previous years, Carleton University has worked to reach a well-respected cyber security community in Canada and internationally. In the time between the annual GeekWeek events, Carleton has partnered with us to develop a platform where discussion of ideas, concepts and prototypes can be sustained.  Carleton University also helps us reach student participants and helps build their networking and cyber security skills.

GeekWeek is community-focused. Beyond building technical tools, the event builds on the importance of facilitating information-sharing between partners. GeekWeek aims to nurture networking between cyber security enthusiasts from all cyber-related industries. Participants gain an enhanced understanding of the challenges faced by their peers, build stronger professional relationships through teamwork, and become more aware of the resources that are readily available to cyber security professionals. If you’d like to participate in the next edition of GeekWeek, please keep an eye out for the call for participants in Spring 2019. 

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