Frequently Asked Questions + Rules
Why does HSF exist as a competition?
HSF exists for many reasons. For students who are already interested in cyber security and hacking, it provides a fun opportunity to hone skills and gain experience. For students with no prior interest/experience in cyber security and digital forensics, HSF helps increase awareness of educational opportunities and career paths in this dynamic field.
Additional benefits include:
- Scholarships, prizes, travel awards
- Pre-college experience
- Experience of participating in an international competition with thousands of students from around the world
- Opportunity to meet industry experts and learn about internships
Does HSF condone hacking?
We encourage legally exploring computer systems and learning how computers and systems work.We do not condone hacking in the illegal sense, which is how you usually hear it in the news: breaking into machines illegally, stealing personal information, and launching denial of service attacks.
Who is eligible to play HSF?
Qualification Round - September 22 - October 2, 2017
Everyone is welcome to play in the Qualification Round of HSF, September 22 - October 2, 2017. We have players from around the world and with different life experiences who participate -- not just high school students.
Teams/players may play as much or as little as they want through the Qualification Round. For high school students, we recommend dedicating as much time as you have to working through the Challenges, while maintaining your normal school and extracurricular schedule.
Final Competition - November 9 - 11, 2017
The Final Competition is open to high school students from three different global regions. Eligibility rules vary by region, as follows:
Teams must consist of 1 to 3 students, all of whom must be enrolled in the same high school in the Grenoble Academy. Teams must be formed during the Qualification Round. Each team may compete under only one team name, and a mentor needs to be identified for the team.
United Arab Emirates:
Teams must consist of 1 to 3 students, all of whom must be enrolled in the same high school in the United Arab Emirates. Teams must be formed during the Qualification Round. Each team may compete under only one team name, and a mentor needs to be identified for the team.
Teams must consist of 1 to 3 students, all of whom must be enrolled in the same high school in the United States. Teams must be formed during the Qualification Round. Each team may compete under only one team name, and a mentor needs to be identified for the team.
Who qualifies to be a “mentor” of a team and what is their role?
Each team is required to identify a mentor, who must be a teacher or a parent/guardian approved by the team’s high school. The mentor will assist the team in preparing to compete in both the Qualification and Final competitions. Additionally, the mentor will serve as the chaperone for teams who qualify for and travel to the Final Competition. Mentors should not assist students in solving challenges during the Qualification Round and Final Competition.
How do I register to play in High School Forensics?
Please visit hsf.csaw.io to register.
When is the deadline to register?
Registration officially closes on October 2, 2017 when the Qualification Round of HSF ends.
Do I need to know coding, hacking, or computer security to be able to play HSF?
No! No prior experience is needed to compete in HSF. Students with varied interests are encouraged to play.
How can I prepare for the competition?
You can start to prep for prelims over the summer with CyFor, an online learning module that teaches the basics of digital forensics.
What other opportunities are available to help my team prepare for HSF?
Dates for an online webinar will be announced soon!
How difficult is the HSF competition?
We have a range of challenges, some that are very easy to solve and others that are very difficult to solve. If the competition isn't tough, it won't be fun because it won't challenge and teach you.
What technology is needed to compete in the Qualification Round?
The Qualification Round of HSF is played on an online platform: hsf.csaw.io. Your team will need regular access to a computer and an Internet connection. We recommend that you have unfiltered Internet access, as well as the ability to install software.
What are the HSF Fair Play Rules?
- Each team may compete under one team name only
- A team is not allowed to give themselves or another team an unfair advantage
- Members of a given team are not allowed to share answers with any other team
- Teams are not allowed to work together to secure multiple spots in the Final Round
- Teams may use any freely available tool to complete a given challenge.
- Tools that must be purchased (e.g., ordered online) are prohibited
What constitutes cheating?
- Attacking the scoring server, other teams, or any machines not designated as targets -- that includes breaking into said machines and denying others access to them (for example, by altering a key or ping-flooding)
- Sharing keys or giving hints to other teams
- Being assisted by non-team members, for example, a team’s mentor or friends. It's okay to use free tools and resources available on the Internet, but it's not okay to ask people (online or offline) to help you solve the problem.
How do you qualify for Finals?
During the Qualification Round, eligible teams win by getting the maximum available points. The top scoring teams (approximately 10 teams) will be invited to play in Finals at Grenoble INP-Esisar. Tie-breakers will be used as needed
United Arab Emirates:
During the Qualification Round, eligible teams win by getting the maximum available points. The top scoring teams (approximately 10 teams) will be invited to play in Finals at NYU Abu Dhabi. Tie-breakers will be used as needed.
During the Qualification Round, the eligible team with the most points per region will be invited to Finals. In addition to these 4 regional teams, the top 5 teams with the most points will be invited regardless of region or state, and the top scoring all-female team will be invited. Tie-breakers will be used as needed.
When is the Final Competition?
The Final Competition occurs during CSAW’17, November 9 - 11, 2017. Specific competitions times/days vary by international location. Details will be announced to Finalists.
Where is the Final Competition?
The Final High School Forensics Competition takes place on-site at the following CSAW international locations:
Finalists from high schools within the Grenoble Academy will compete at Grenoble INP-Esisar (Valence, France)
United Arab Emirates:
Finalists from high schools within the UAE will compete at NYU Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
Finalists from high schools within the US will compete at NYU Tandon School of Engineering (Brooklyn, New York)
When will teams be notified that they are eligible to compete in Finals?
Finalists will be notified via email by October 6, 2017.
What costs are covered for finalists during CSAW?
This varies by international region, but typically, transportation, lodging (hotel or residence hall), and meals are provided to students and mentors during Finals at CSAW. Students and mentors will be notified of all specific costs covered at the time they are invited to Finals.
How do you win Finals?
Each team will submit a report (guidelines will be provided) with their findings, to be assessed and scored on-site by a panel of industry judges. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony. A 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place team is identified for each international location.
What prizes are awarded to the top teams at Finals?
Prizes vary by international region. Please check the CSAW website as well as the regional CSAW webpages for details on prizes via region.
Whom should I contact should I have additional questions?
Please direct your inquiries as follows:
UAE > email@example.com
United States > firstname.lastname@example.org
See the HSF finalist teams.
You can learn
digital forensics online