Hardcode Competition - Focus On Security
Written by Sue Gee   
Monday, 21 January 2013

Google's contest for teams of students aimed at promoting the importance of security throughout the software development lifecycle has just started.

Update: The first round deadline is now February 22nd

 

The rules for Hardcode 2013 have been released and the competition is underway. In the first round, the deadline for which is February 22, 2013,  contestants must develop an open source application using either Python or Java on the Google App Engine framework that meets a set of functional and security requirements outlined in the contest description.

 

hcode1

 

Hardcode is open to school and college students over the age of 13 in most parts of the world. As well as the usual exceptions - Quebec, Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, or Sudan students in Brazil and Italy are also excluded.

While it is possible to participate as an individual, students are encouraged to work in teams of up to 5 individuals, all of whom must be pre-graduate college students and have the written consent of a parent or legal guardian if they are minors.

For Hardcode 2013 teams are expected to develop a marketplace web application that allows people to organize bartering of academic goods or services in a school setting (e.g., selling used books, supplies, tutoring services). The rules outline both basic requirements that all teams need to meet and optional ones that enable teams to gain additional points and distinguish themselves from other teams.

Don't be fooled by the fact that the rules outline what your app is expected to do, Hardcode poses a pretty tough challenge, especially when you bear in mind it is is aimed at contestants in the age group 13-24. Anybody who has tried to implement such an application will tell you there are lots of pitfalls and of course the focus of this competition is about the importance of security throughout the software development lifecycle and as well as subjecting applications to functional testing, they will also be judged in terms of security vulnerabilities and security logic bugs.

At the end of Round 1 five teams will be selected to go forward to Round 2 - the Final which takes place in Singapore April 23-26, as part of the security symposium,  SyScan 2013 where the cash prizes, awarded in Singapore Dollars (SGD), will be presented. The top prizes for Hardcode are:

1st 20,000 GD, 2nd 15,000 SGD, 3rd 10,000 SGD

All the teams qualifying for Round 2 will receive 500 SGD (around $400 USD) which is expected to cover the travel costs of one or more team members.

At SyScan '13 Finalists will be given 2 days to fix security bugs identified during Round 1 and incorporate additional functional requirements. On the third day of Round 2, each finalist team will deliver a short presentation and demo about their completed application to a panel of judges.

Don't be fooled by the fact that the rules outline what your app is expected to do, Hardcode poses a pretty tough challenge, especially when you bear in mind it is is aimed at contestants in the age group 13-24. Anybody who has tried to implement such an application will tell you there are lots of pitfalls and of course the focus of this competition is about the importance of security throughout the software development lifecycle and as well as subjecting applications to functional testing, they will also be judged in terms of security vulnerabilities and security logic bugs.

 

hardcode

Hardcode adds to Google's other opportunities for students to get involved in programming and to contribute to open source software.  As well as its CS4HS grants to promote computer science education at the high school and middle school level, it also offers scholarships to students in computer science and computer engineering.  See the Google Student Blog to keep up to date with its initiatives.

More Information

Hardcode 2013

SyScan 2013

Google Student Blog

Related Articles

Google Code-In 2012 Starts

Google's Summer of Code

Google Grants for Computer Science Education

 

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