VanHacking’s $10,000 Macintosh Web Server Security Challenge

Sponsored by VirTech Communications Inc.

May 15, 1997

VANCOUVER, BC – From June 01 to July 15, 1997, VirTech Communications Inc.
will challenge the global hacker community to bypass the security of its
Macintosh World Wide Web server. Similar contests have been conducted
previously in the US and Sweden, but VirTech’s challenge is unique in that
it addresses popular Internet security issues that are plaguing the media
today. By launching the challenge, VirTech wants to overturn the notion
that the Internet is vulnerable to credit card number snatching.
Additionally, VirTech also wants to prove its server can withstand the type
of vandalism attacks that have been successfully directed against the NASA
and CIA Web servers.

The rules are simple and the prize is big. Whoever breaks into the server,
snatches the credit card number, and changes the phrase found on the page
will win a hefty CAD $10,000 or an equivalent of US$7,500 prize. The credit
card number will have an extra four digits appended to it in order to
verify that the credit card number has indeed been snatched from the
challenge page. Moreover, there will be a special phrase in the page that a
challenger must change to claim the prize. The phrase could be something
like “Cats chase dogs”. The hacker should change it to something else, for
example “Dogs chase cats”.

In anticipation of VanHacking contest, the World Wide Web server that
VirTech employs will in no way be modified. No security beefing up,
firewalling for example, will be done to protect the server. The server
will run a network suite known as Apple Internet Server Solution 2.0 that
consists of WebStar 1.3.2 server software from Starnine Technologies, Inc.,
and several prepackaged CGIs (Common Gateway Interface), which are special
programs that enhance the functionality of the server.

On the opening day of the challenge, a third party accountancy official
will verify that the page exists. The page will then be immediately
assigned a password in the presence of the official in order to mark the
beginning of the challenge. During the course of the challenge, the
official will be called upon bi-weekly to re-verify that the page is still

Further information can be obtained from the VanHacking challenge Web site
at ( when it is fully operational in mid-May.

VirTech Communications Inc. is a privately held Vancouver-based company
specializing in developing new media business solutions for corporate
clients. VirTech’s web site is located at