While the quantity of submissions for FC10 was lower than usual - we had expected this because of the amount of work required to submit plus being over the Christmas break - the quality of the solutions was really inspiring.
Of course the hardest part was deciding the winners, and as expected the traditional scoring method was not ideal for this type of challenge because the challenge was about creating and developing ideas, rather than just answering a number of dry questions. Quite a few people people used the challenge not so much to win a prize, but to have fun, develop an idea they've had, practice on some real datasets, learn, and teach. This was exactly the spirit we'd hoped for, so thanks to everyone for putting in a big effort.
The Winners and their solutions:
Fabian Fischer - solution
Chris Horsley - solution
Fraser Scott - solution
Dan Gleebits - solution
Johnathan Tracz - solution
The standout theme in the submissions for me was the use of interactive and flexible tools to analyse the data. As we move further into the big data world, its going to be imperative to get inside the data interactively to understand it. Some of the solutions focused on developing brand new applications/frameworks to interactively data sets - Check out the submissions from Fabian and Chris as really good examples of this. While Fraser put forward the idea of rendering images in 3D - which is not that far-out an idea actually, why not?!.
We hope that this challenge was enjoyable for those who participated, and for those downloading the submissions for inspiration. These challenges have a long legacy, we see people downloading, attempting and referencing these challenges and the solutions for education purposes years afterwards, so they are an important program at the Honeynet Project.
It would be great to see solutions to future forensic challenges use visualization, not only to analyse and detect trends, but also to describe the problem space to the layperson. With that said - the next Forensic challenge, FC11 should be released shortly - so stay tuned.
And lastly, if anyone wants to develop their ideas further, a good way (i.e. get paid if you are accepted!) is to get involved in our upcoming Google Summer of Code program GSOC12