We are super excited about the next SECTF. This year we again chose the gender theme and the response so far has been amazing. This year marks the first year in Defcon SECTF history that we have had more than double the women sign up than we needed, and more than 8x the number of men.

With all of the buzz and excitement we thought we would take a few moments to answer some really pertinent questions about the SECTF.

1) How did you get involved in the SECTF?

A: A few years ago a few of us were sitting in a room at Defcon while some Social Engineering calls were being made. The room was too loud, the competition was hard and the contestants did not have any clearly defined guidelines.

After that event we talked with Defcon and decided to help out and take over the competition to organize it into a fun, safe and legal competition that would allow a wide range of people from all genders, cultures, age groups, experience levels and walks of life try their hand at social engineering.

Of course, it was not a long jump to decide to make a competition with prizes for the winners. We were just as shocked as most of you when in the first year we were awarded a black badge for the winner.

That tradition stuck as for the last 3 years the winner has gotten not only some of the coolest SE tools out there but a black badge.

2) How do you chose contestants?

This is always a hard process. From the first year to this year a lot has changed. We now ask each registrant to tell us why they should be chosen. We, then, compile the registrations by gender, experience and how well they articulate their desire and reasons for entering. We also wanted to make sure new people as well as some veterans have a chance to shine each year.

All of this factors into the equation and then the team choses contestants based on those factors.

3) Will the previous top 3 always be guaranteed a spot?

The SECTF is different than most other competitions. Instead of racing against a clock or a company, it is really about conquering your own fears of getting in front of 2..3..4..5..6 hundred strangers and entering that glass booth to make a call to a company and gather intel. Also it demonstrates how much of a threat SE is to the business world.

Due to this we cannot always invite previous winners back to “defend” the title. Yet, there is no denying that phat32 and Shane M. (both previous winners) are amazing, talented and skilled at conquering their fears as well as gathering amazing amounts of data (If you remember Shane got every flag last year!). But we want to give new people a chance to try their hand, conquer their fears and be part of the legacy of the SECTF.

4) Is this just a marketing ploy to sell your books and courses?

Defcon has some pretty strict rules about promoting business ventures in competition areas. We take that very seriously, so you will not see promotional materials for books, courses or corporate events anywhere near our SECTF room or booths.

In addition, when we started the SECTF there wasn’t even a Social-Engineer, LLC! There was no 5-day course and my book hadn’t even come out. (It was just being finished.) We started the SECTF purely to help bring SE Awareness to the fore, to help the community have a place to practice and learn and to have fun!!

In the end, we are really excited to hold the SECTF this year. We are excited at the talent that signed up and we hope to see you there.

We can’t thank all the previous contestants enough and also the previous winners for making the SECTF a great success.

We hope to see you there and keep checking Social-Engineer.Org for updates.