Derive Systems Joins the Capture The Flag (CTF) Challenges at DEF CON 25 Car Hacking Village and Sponsors Grand Prize Truck

This year at DEF CON’s Car Hacking Village, Derive supplied the hardware and software for the 3rd annual Capture The Flag Challenge Series. 161 teams registered to compete over the course of three days to hack a variety of automotive technology challenges ranging from data compression and communication, to infotainment upgrades. In the end, the four-person team from NIO took the grand prize with 6700 points, edging out SecDSM by a slim 100 point margin. The winners took home a custom modified, Derive-tuned 2017 Ford F-150, co-provided by Derive Systems and AutoNation.

“Car-hacking has received a lot of attention over the past few years and the DEF CON faithful are paying attention,” explains Abe Chen, NIO’s U.S., Director of Product and Information Security and member of the winning team. “We’re incredibly proud of what our team accomplished. The competition was fierce and it was down to the wire. But we had a blast and can’t thank the Car Hacking Village enough for the opportunity—and prizes.”

Coders raced against the clock to solve eight Derive-specific challenges and 57 others over the three-day conference. With six types of challenges presented, from checksums to seed/key algorithms, calibration parameter identification, and a custom-built “Engine Control Unit (ECU) Challenge,” teams had plenty to work on. Four of Derive’s challenges stumped every single team, including solving the ECU Challenge, in which actual, locked vehicle ECUs had to be decoded.


The New Frontier of Automotive Tech

Writing to a vehicle’s computer to personalize and optimize performance is the new frontier of automotive software. Derive is already using its write-access technology to optimize vehicle performance and safety for fleet managers. As leaders in automotive technology continue to innovate, there’s an opportunity for the car to become another component of personalized IoT networks for consumers, bringing things like weather data, social networks, media, infotainment and more to every vehicle. Write-access technology opens the door for high level engineers, coders, hackers, and data scientists to build new products that can provide valuable benefits to a wide variety of end consumers.

“DEF CON attracts elite technology experts from all over the world. Partnering with DEF CON and the Car Hacking Village helps Derive collaborate with those experts at the forefront of automotive security and technology,” explains Marco Della Torre, Derive CTO. “Derive believes the Hacker community represents a highly innovative, talented and valuable part of the global technology ecosystem, and looks forward to an ongoing relationship at the frontier of automotive software.”