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Carnegie Mellon Team Wins DEF CON Hacking Competition – Business Wire

PITTSBURGH–()–Major win at DEF CON; Carnegie Mellon University’s hacking team, the Plaid Parliament of Pwning, joined forces with the University of British Columbia’s team, Maple Bacon, and researchers from Theori.io, a Texas-based company founded by CMU alumni, to win this year’s DEF CON cybersecurity conference’s Capture the Flag competition, an event widely regarded as the “Olympics of hacking.”

Together the teams formed a new squad under the name Maple Mallard Magistrates (MMM), finishing in the top spot on the leaderboard at the end of days one and two, and holding on during the competition’s final day to take this year’s crown.
Carnegie Mellon’s (CMU) Plaid Parliament of Pwning (PPP) won five hacking world championships between 2013 and 2019, the most victories by any team in the competition’s history. Although playing as an expanded team this time around, PPP has now earned its sixth title in the past ten years.
“If you’re wondering who the best and brightest security experts in the world are, look no further than the Capture the Flag room at DEF CON,” says David Brumley, an Electrical and Computer Engineering professor at CMU and the faculty advisor to the team.
Over the course of the 72-hour hacking spree, sixteen qualifying teams made up of students, industry workers, and government contractors from around the world attempted to break into each other’s systems, stealing virtual “flags” and accumulating points while simultaneously trying to protect their own.
“The hacking challenges this year spanned many different formats, exploring different skills and giving us all the chance to both showcase and stretch our abilities,” said Jay Bosamiya, PPP’s team captain, a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science Department, and member of CMU’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute.
Carnegie Mellon’s hacking team first formed in 2009 and began competing at DEF CON in 2010. The team previously won the contest in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019.
The victory builds on CMU’s prowess in cybersecurity, a strength shared with the rising generation through picoCTF, a free and robust computer security education program that hosts the world’s largest high school hacking competition.
About the College of Engineering:
The College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University is a top-ranked engineering college known for its Advanced Collaboration culture in research and education. The College is well-known for working on problems of both scientific and practical importance. Our “maker” culture is ingrained in all that we do, leading to novel approaches and transformative results. Our acclaimed faculty have a focus on innovation management and engineering to yield transformative results that will drive the intellectual and economic vitality of our community, nation, and world.
About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon, cmu.edu, is a private, internationally ranked research university with acclaimed programs spanning the sciences, engineering, technology, business, public policy, humanities, and the arts. Our diverse community of scholars, researchers, creators, and innovators is driven to make real-world impacts that benefit people across the globe. With a bold, interdisciplinary, and entrepreneurial approach, we do the work that matters.
Ryan Noone
[email protected]
Ryan Noone
[email protected]


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