Saab Australia has placed first in the inaugural National Missing Persons Hackathon, organised by AustCyber’s Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node and the Australian Federal Police.
The event saw 354 participants compete from 10 Australian cities and gather information on 12 missing person cases by ethically researching open-source platforms.
The contestants used their cyber skills to gather intelligence on long-term missing persons using only publicly available information, with the intention to generate new leads on cases for the relevant policing jurisdictions.
“This is the first large-scale, crowdsourced open-source intelligence gathering of its kind in Australia for missing persons, and a first for a country to participate simultaneously in this manner,” said Linda Cavanagh, manager of the Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node.
“This is where innovation brings social value, creating an event which is unlike any other hackathon or capture the flag (CTF) challenge. Theoretical concepts are put aside so participants can operate in real time, with real (open source) data for real human impact.”
Competing from Adelaide, the 'SaabAU' team from Saab Australia placed first out of 96 teams, submitting 97 pieces of information and winning by 2,000 points.
“A lot of our time is usually spent researching breaches, recovering information, or penetration testing networks, so this gave us great satisfaction knowing we could use our skills to potentially help a family reunite with a lost member,” said Ben Cornish, professional services manager of Saab Australia.
“Our goal is to partner with law enforcement and organisations like AustCyber on crowdsourced intelligence initiatives to enhance public safety around the world and enable the community to be involved in tackling complex social issues,” said Adrian Korn, director of operations and strategic initiatives at Trace Labs.
AustCyber said the event demonstrates the value of co-operation between their partnerships, such as:
- harnessing the Australian community to generate leads and assist police in their investigations on missing person cases;
- showcasing the different elements to cyber security such as ‘ethical hackers’;
- highlighting the diversity of cyber security careers, skills and the people who hold them; and
- demonstrating cyber security crowdsourcing as a technical value add element to law enforcement as well as a social value add element to the community.