The recently concluded 20th DEFCON Annual Hackers Conference held in Las Vegas has proven that Filipinos have what it takes to be globally competitive in the information technology industry, even in the field of hacking. In this year’s event, representatives from Chikka Philippines, the creator of the popular free texting app—Chikka Text Messenger, landed in the Top 10 from a field of over 300 international teams who competed in a series of high-stakes IT challenges.

Sci-fi brought to life
The Filipino team composed of Paul and Mon, two specialists from Chikka’s IT and Network Security Departments, participated in the Network Forensics Contest and Capture-the-packet challenges, where they analyzed a live network traffic environment and answered questions under a time limit.

In the Network Forensics Contest, the duo placed sixth in the race to investigate and solve a fictitious crime by “sniffing out” evidence transmitted in the form of “network dump files“. The team even took the lead in the third round when they successfully reconstructed an audio-video file to extract a system password.

Other tasks during the digital forensic investigation leg included isolating network streams to read a private chat and decrypting Twitter feeds to reveal a secret location. 

Hacking for social good
The duo notes that hacking, although once a notorious term in popular media for breaking into computer systems, is regaining its more positive meaning. Hacking has been used by tech specialists to identify problematic areas in the system in order to solve them. In fact, the networks supporting IT services and apps that the public enjoy are maintained by IT experts and hackers like them.

“Hacking is not always a bad thing,” shares Mon. “We hope to organize more of these conferences and hackathons in the Philippines so we can help encourage the Filipino youth to develop and use their skills for the better,” he adds. 

In hopes of sharing the experience with fellow Filipinos, Mon helped organize the long-range WiFi Shootout contest at ROOTCON, a local hacking and information security conference that aims to promote the best practices and latest technologies among Pinoy hackers. 

This year’s gathering, ROOTCON 6, that was held in Cebu was attended by delegates from all-over the country as well as experts from different parts of the world.

“Filipinos can truly benefit from events like DEFCON and ROOTCON. That’s why we, at Chikka, have always been supportive of such alternative but effective means of learning.  It shows us how technology can help our country,” says Paul.

“Being part of the DEFCON was certainly a unique experience and the lessons we carry with us are far more important than taking home the top prize,” shares Paul. “This is actually a great example of how hacking can be used for social good,” Mon adds.


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