🎅🎄 SANS 2019 Holiday Hack Challenge (HHC) - KringleCon 2

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Every year the SANS Institute and the Counter Hack Team hosts a ‘Holiday Hack Challenge’ also commonly referred to as HHC.

The SANS HHC contains a number of unique infosec related challenges designed to test and improve the technical skills of those interested or working within Information/Cyber Security.

The 2019 Holiday Hack Challenge can be found below:

SANS 2019 HHC - Kringlecon 2: Turtle Doves

Quick Statistics for HHC 2019

  • 14,912 Players
  • 2.51% (375) Completed the final challenge
  • 303 Reports submitted
  • 2.03% Submitted a report
  • 78 Honorable Mentions
  • 47 Super Honorable Mentions

SANS keeps a number of past challenges (including HHC 2019) available all year long for those who still want to take part after the challenge has concluded which can be found below:

SANS Past HHC Challenges


For those looking to learn or expand on their technical abilities these types of challenges can often be a good starting point with many participants choosing to document and publish their write-ups for every challenge completed.

Included as part of the SANS HHC is the option to submit your write-up for each challenge (prior to the deadline) to enter into the SANS Contest.

In January 2020, I successfully completed all of the challenges and submitted my write-up to the Counter Hack Team for the second year in a row. This entry was one of 47 entries to earn a Super Honorable Mention, which is defined as:

A group of people who really went above and beyond with their entries. Their write-ups were SUPERB, demonstrating excellent technical skills along with impressive communication skills. 

SANS HHC 2019 - Winners and Answers

I have chosen to publish my HHC submission to show my thought process behind various challenges and to help others learn (PDF Download Below):


Final Notes

In addition to my closing remarks in the HHC write-up, I’d like to give my congratulations to the rest of the Honorable and Super Honorable Entries, Honorable being:

These folks did a wonderful job with their answers, and we heartily congratulate them

Send my congratulations to all 303 people/teams who took the time to document and submit their reports, and also to the 14,912 players who participated in the SANS 2019 HHC.