Korean firm offers $100,000 in hacking competition

The first hacker to gain access to a server run by Korea Digital Works and leave their name on the site's front page this week will find it an enriching experience

A Korean company is offering $100,000 (£70,000) in a 48-hour hacking competition, to be run this week.

Korea Digital Works (KDWorks) will launch the competition, which will involve gaining root access to a server, on Tuesday 16 April at 11am Korean Standard Time (2am GMT) at the Munhwa Daily Newspaper.

The competition is aimed at demonstrating the resilience of KDWorks' World OK Security (WOKS) solution, according to Justin Kim, an attorney with US-based Mike Choi International Consulting, who is helping to promote the event. "The company is a small enterprise but their product is outstanding," said Kim. "We found the company is not internationally recognised, so we decided to run the competition."

To enter the competition, participants first have to register on a Web site set up by KDWorks. Alongside their name and email address, participants also have to leave an ID number, such as passport number or national insurance number, which KDWorks will use to verify the identity of prizewinners. Despite the fact that to win the competition, a hacker must leave their name (which can be a nickname) alongside the ID number on a Web page of the site, Kim brushed aside any concerns over privacy issues.

"Nobody's name will be revealed against their wishes," said Kim. "If people just want their nickname used, that is fine."

KDWorks plans to release the details of the target system two hours before the competition starts. The first person to penetrate the server -- which will be protected by WOKS -- and edit an HTML file to leave their ID and identification number on the front page, will win. A panel of three judges drawn from the press, the IT industry and academia, will arbitrate in the event of any apparent tie or confusion.

If there is no outright winner, the judges may award five prizes of $10,000 to "outstanding competitors" based on the methodology and level of hacking used.

There are rules to the competition: for instance, participants must not shut down the system; they should not shut down services that are being run by the system or do anything that could inconvenience other participants, and they must not overload the system, for instance by launching a denial of service attack. The full list of rules can be found at the woksdome.org site.

The event is sponsored by the Korea Information Processing Society, the Korea ISP Association and the IT Professionals Association of Korea among others, according to the organisers.

For all security-related news, including updates on the latest viruses, hacking exploits and patches, check out ZDNet UK's Viruses and Hacking News Section.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Go to the Security forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.