Part 1: Creating the Construct

On the journey to create HackFu, we must start with a scenario or construct. It's the most important aspect of planning the event and the thing from which everything else flows.

What is a construct you ask? Essentially, you can think of this as a theme but one with its own world attached to it. This enables the event to factor in some key aspects of the challenges we face in the security industry and those are “geo-political drivers and market forces”.

Only by understanding motivations and drivers of the parties who are involved, ie the threat actors, the policy makers, the politicians, the businesses and the cyber security industry itself can you begin to map out what the solutions to our problem space need to look like.

If you fail to do this then everything thereafter may be flawed and built on incorrect assumptions. So by taking this into account it enables us to take HackFu from being simply a technical training event to a cyber-security assault course of greater sophistication and scope than anything else we know of.

So in order to support this concept HackFu has a different theme every year, one that increases in sophistication every time we run the event, not only does this make it fun and fresh but it also enables a scenario to be constructed that factors in people, organisations and their motivations.

This is done through a detailed storyline, characters with backgrounds and real people that the participants need to engage and interact with. If you know this subject area you will know that these are all important but it’s also likely that you didn’t get to understand that by reading a book or attending a lecture.

Therefore to communicate the importance of these aspects we believe that it is only if people experience these factors first hand, that they discover why they are important for themselves. That means they can live the learning process, if done well this then enables them to teach others, not through words in textbooks but through experience.

The importance of having our theme or construct doesn’t end there, though. It also enables us to incorporate some of the challenges that are currently being faced by major companies and organisations all around the World.

In our 2014 event there were a number of specific industries and sectors that were woven directly into the scenario. These were the Financial sector, Mining & Extraction industries, Telecommunications providers, Retailers and the Government.

Companies and institutions in all of these areas were created and integrated into the storyline which this time was set in a Frontier town called Hacksville in the South West of the USA. At the event the date was 1887, a factor that enabled us to engineer our construct and simplify the influences that were in play, but the challenges and technologies we used were all from 2014.

To ensure the attendees didn’t solely rely on their technical skills they also had to interact with some real life characters from the town including the infamous Sherriff Harding, the barkeep at the local saloon, a gentleman by the name of TJ Ginslinger and Miss Lily Heart the mysterious owner of the infamous Hacksville Baudello (that’s a techie joke before you correct my spelling).

The teams competing at the event were informed that something wasn’t right in the town of Hacksville and their mission was to go investigate and separate the crooks from the good guys by directly interacting with the characters and environment whilst solving a number of specially crafted challenges.

So hopefully you can now start to understand a bit more about the World we are looking to create at the event but there’s still a lot more you need to learn about to fully appreciate all the elements that are needed for it to achieve its ultimate objectives.

Read Part 2: The Venue

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