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Prague to host first edition designed to test digital forensics and response skills

UK: SANS Forensics Prague 2013, Europe’s largest dedicated Digital Forensics, Incident Response and Training event will host a new version of the popular NetWars tournament designed to test digital forensics skills.


As part of the week-long event which begins on the 6th of October with the 4th annual European Digital Forensics and Incident Response Summit (DFIR), competitors will run challenges across five levels of increasing difficulty. “You can think of it as a cross between CSI and Survivor,” says Rob Lee, SANS Fellow and the author of this modified NetWars session which is expected to attract around 70 competitors.

Lee conducted a test run of the format at last year’s events with a much smaller group and the feedback has been instrumental in creating the new session. “We are allowing competitors to bring and use any tools they want,” says Lee, “Having a great golf club won’t make you Tiger Woods but we recognise that having tools that you are familiar with that match your thought process will make the challenge closer to real world engagement.”

The updated course has focus on questioning the participants to solve challenges in different ways. “For example, at the harder difficulty levels there may be no tool that can even decode an artefact and requires participants to go into HEX editors.” says Lee.

The competition uses time and accuracy criteria to award points with the top 6 places recognised for “Gold Coin” awards and the overall winner receiving an iPad mini. “If you speak to most of the competitors, it is not all about the winning,” explains Lee, “NetWars allow participants to learn more about their own strengths and weakness and discover where they may progress as InfoSec professionals and practitioners.” Participation is open to any student taking a course during the SANS Prague event.

SANS Forensics Prague welcomed a capacity audience last year and adds a brand new course to the 2013 roster with FOR526: Windows Memory Forensics In-Depth taught by Jess Garcia and Jesse Kornblum. This In-Depth course is critical for any serious investigator who wishes to tackle advanced forensic and incident response cases.

Lee will also be teaching the FOR508: Advanced Computer Forensic Analysis and Incident Response course which has been updated to reflect a dramatic increase in sophisticated attacks against nearly every type of organization. Economic espionage in the form of cyber-attacks, also known as the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), has proven difficult to suppress and the course is aimed at meeting these issues.

FORENSICS 610: Reverse-Engineering Malware will be taught by Lenny Zeltser, a GIAC Security Expert (GSE), Senior Faculty Member at the SANS Institute and Incident handler at the Internet Storm Center. This is only the second time that US-based Zeltser, the primary author of this popular course, has taught it in Europe.

The event will also host the FOR408: Computer Forensic Investigations - Windows In-Depth course taught by Chad Tilbury and Christian Prickaerts. The 6 day course focuses on the critical knowledge of the Windows Operating System that every digital forensic analyst needs to investigate computer incidents successfully.