The challenge was a year-long global competition designed and hosted by the US Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center. It attracted, according to the BBC, almost 2000 teams and individuals from around the world – with the majority coming from the US and UK. “Considered one of the toughest forensic competitions in the world, it takes the form of scenario-based exercises replicating the complexity digital forensics examiners face extracting and scrutinising data to solve cybercrime,” said the report.
DC3 is the US Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center. Located in Linthicum, MD, its purpose is to improve the quality of digital forensics. The challenge involved a series of puzzles ranging from novice to master. Novice challenges each scored up to 100 points, while master challenges could score up to 400 points. Examples included password recovery (novice), steganography extraction (advanced), encrypted archives (expert), and ‘Cryptomathic File2File Decryption’ (master).
“It’s a year-long competition but I only decided to enter a month before it closed so time was a bit of an issue,” Doman told the BBC. “I looked through all 34 challenges and wrote a plan of how to do them all and how long it would take. It’s all certainly possible to solve but it’s not easy and you have to think carefully about the time required for each challenge.”
Doman is now considering a future career in computer security.