16 March 2020

BBQ, Bugs, and Bytes

Ryan Rutan

The days leading up to February 14th are typically laden with flowers, chocolates and rose-colored cards dispensing admiration and affection towards loved ones. This year, the Synack Red Team celebrated by painting targets red with copious amounts of scanning and bon-bon payloads at our first 2020 HackerHangout event of the year. The formula was simple: live hacking on live targets in the live music capital of the world – Austin, Texas!

SRT from North and South America competed in a pre-qualifying competition that seated the first ten spots in this regional qualifying event. Additional SRT from surrounding regions were invited to RSVP and join the festivities, equating to a diverse set of researchers from all over the United States and Canada coming together to do what they do best. All of these SRT were given exclusive access to key targets, with Synack’s customer participating onsite to learn, patch, and assist vulnerability discovery.

The competition was intense between the selected mix of SRT contest winners and invited local SRT guests who wanted to go toe-to-toe with Synack’s best. The lead changed several times before the end. Finally, after two days of local cuisine (BBQ, Tacos and more BBQ), virtual reality, mixed drinks and intense hacking, one SRT rose to the top and claimed the first guaranteed seat for the HackerHangout currently planned for this summer in Tokyo, Japan.

W--- at Synack Austin HackerHangout

His name is Wes Wineberg. Wes is a perennial powerhouse in security research, who spends his hacking time with Synack. Wes is both accurate and impactful, even measured against his fellow Canadians, who are among the most active on the world bug bounty stage.

He is the #1 SRT member all-time in Canada as measured by report accuracy and average payout (a proxy for severity). That’s also Top 25 all time across the entire world. And that smile below is the way we always see him at Synack events and one he shares with researchers new and old.

Who will join Wes in the final event? That has yet to be decided. The majority of the slots have yet to be determined. Along with the Austin event, two other regional events will determine the three of the spots in the grand finale HackerHangout. All remaining spots will be dispensed via additional CTFs, qualifying competitions, recognition program winners, and special invitations throughout the year.

Do you have what it takes to join fellow SRT for the sweetest HackerHangout event of Olympic year 2020? Apply for the Synack Red Team Today! #CanYouHackIt

Ryan Rutan