Hacking contest seeks to attract women to information security

A security conference in Seoul hosted a hacking event only for women to spur interest in the field

Computer security conferences tend to be male-dominated affairs. It's not that women aren't present, but just not anywhere near their normal proportional representation in society.

To address the disparity, the Power of Community (POC2012) security conference in Seoul held the final round of a hacking contest on Thursday appropriately called the "Power of XX," a women-only skills battle intended to spur interest in the field and also at a level that wasn't overwhelming.

The competition, also sponsored by the Sookmyung Information Security Study, a club that is part of the computer science department at Sookmyung Women's University's engineering school in Seoul, started with 48 teams. Eight teams made the final round, and they worked throughout the day to solve challenges in areas such as web application attacks, programming, system hacking and cryptography.

The challenges were designed with novices in mind, as usual hacking contests tend to be designed for people that are very active in information security rather than students who are studying general computer science.

The five-member teams, with names such as "Power of MachoGirl" and "Power of Layer23," were laser-focused on their tasks, with perhaps an unhealthy number of snack-food wrappers and plastic soda bottles littering tables. A sign written in Korean with large red letters warned that men were not allowed in the competition area.

There's a perception that women aren't necessarily as good as men when it comes to computer skills, said a 32-year-old male organizer of the contest who goes by the nickname "Monggi." He only knows five women who are in his computer science classes.

The hacking competition changed his perception. "We didn't expect they were very good," Monggi said. "We figured out they are very good."

Su-hee Kang, also a computer science major, said that she has been told by other people that if she were their son or daughter, they would have discouraged her from studying computers. "It's very hard for women," she said.

Another male organizer, Jeong-hoon Shin, said there are distinct difference between how men and woman approach computer science problems. Women, he said, are more detail oriented, work slower and ponder problems, while men tend to rush with less thought -- and perhaps less success.

Jeong-jinn Kang, a woman studying computer science, said, "The most important things are patience, endurance and taking on new challenges."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags no companysecurity

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?