Some of the ‘Swarmers’ have been busy over the last couple of weeks working on an exciting new project that we launched just in time for the ScotlandJS conference kicking off in Edinburgh this week! We have developed a brand new hackable web application called #HackTheHive – a challenge for any keen developers to have a go at cracking! It is a fictional site that imitates an internal communication platform for Swarm – with made up team updates and project notifications. The application has a series of hackable exploits and hidden codes that will be up to the keen eye of a developer to discover! Each stage that’s hacked unveils the next vulnerability to crack, this continues until the final code is revealed and The Hive will have been successfully ‘hacked’! Successful ‘hackers’ will tweet their unique code @SwarmOnline and this will enter them into a prize draw to win a set of Sennheiser Headphones (worth £300).
While designing and building this challenge has been great fun for the team here at Swarm and we’re buzzing to watch as people have a go at ‘hacking the hive’, there are some deeper motives behind building the challenge…
Building a secure website
Education and Experience
Things are only hard when you don’t know the answer. All of the ‘exploits’ in our #HackTheHive challenge, whilst exaggerated, are based on actual flaws in real-world websites. Once we reveal how to exploit them, the reaction from many people will be “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?!”
But this is the benefit of experience. All developers have horror stories of that time we accidentally deleted the production database when we thought it was test. But we learn from them and – hopefully – don’t do it again.
We are using #HackTheHive to highlight the sort of flaws that are all too easy to introduce to an application. More importantly, we are sharing our experience of them in the hope that those just starting out in their software development careers may benefit from them without having to learn the hard way!
We talk about generating a “buzz” (pun very much intended), but the value of getting like-minded people together and solving a shared common problem is incredibly valuable. The interaction, discussion and debate invariably leads to everyone learning something of value.
We hope that by creating #HackTheHive we will engage and connect with enthusiastic developers across the technology community… The challenge is being launched at ScotlandJS in Edinburgh, but we invite anyone who thinks they’re up for the challenge to #HackTheHive! While the challenge may be a little bit tricky to hack for those just starting out on their journey in software development, it will showcase the sorts of projects that could be to come in their future and will encourage young aspiring software developers and engineers to pursue their career in the industry – perhaps even here at SwarmOnline! We will be very interested in chatting to any of the successful Hive hackers about some of the positions we are recruiting for at the moment, so bear that in mind too!
If you’re at ScotlandJS come and see us! We’ll tell you lots more about what we do at Swarm, #HackTheHive and other cool projects we’re working on.