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By Eduardo Vela Nava, Security Team

This January, Google and SyScan announced a secure coding competition open to students from all over the world. While Google’s Summer of Code and Code-in encourage students to contribute to open source projects, Hardcode was a call for students who wanted to showcase their skills both in software development and security. Given the scope of today’s online threats, we think it’s incredibly important to practice secure coding habits early on. Hundreds of students from 25 countries and across five continents signed up to receive information about the competition, and over 100 teams participated.



During the preliminary online round, teams built applications on Google App Engine that were judged for both functionality and security. Five teams were then selected to participate in the final round at the SyScan 2013 security conference in Singapore, where they had to do the following: fix security bugs from the preliminary round, collaborate to develop an API standard to allow their applications to interoperate, implement the API, and finally, try to hack each other’s applications. To add to the challenge, many of the students balanced the competition with all of their school commitments.




We’re extremely impressed with the caliber of the contestants’ work. Everyone had a lot of fun, and we think these students have a bright future ahead of them. We are pleased to announce the final results of the 2013 Hardcode Competition:

1st Place: Team 0xC0DEBA5E
Vienna University of Technology, Austria (SGD $20,000)

2nd Place: Team Gridlock
Loyola School, Jamshedpur, India (SGD $15,000)

3rd Place: Team CeciliaSec
University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA (SGD $10,000)
  • Nathan Crandall
  • Dane Pitkin
  • Justin Rushing

Runner-up: Team AppDaptor
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (SGD $5,000)

Runner-up: Team DesiCoders
Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, India (SGD $5,000)

Honorable Mention: Team Saviors of Middle Earth (withdrew due to school commitments)
Walt Whitman High School, Maryland, USA

A big congratulations to this very talented group of students!


Eduardo Vela Nava is a Tech Lead for Google's WOOPS (Web or Other Product Security) team, helping teams build safer products.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor