Rapid Prototyping Events

Rapid Prototyping Events (RPE)

DreamPort's first RPE on malware signature diversity and signature measurement identified an automated signature diversity generator and framework by Draper Laboratory, which was put under a direct contract after the conclusion of the event. Additionally, a veteran-owned small business was also identified and awarded a contract after this event for their innovative approach. Subsequent RPEs have been on topics ranging from user activity monitoring solutions for detecting live and recent insider threat attacks or unauthorized activities to monitoring both information technology and operational technology networks for vulnerabilities and active attacks.

What is an RPE?

Similar to a hackathon, a rapid prototyping event is a gathering of subject matter experts committed to looking for new ways to solve a particular challenge. The subject matter experts can work alone, in teams, or as one collective group and are encouraged to now allow previous failures, standards, processes, and other impediment get in the way of breakthrough solutions and ideas. They are encouraged to identify and take risks that yield unexpected success. Unlike a hackathon, RPEs aren't limited to software challenges. The goal of an RPE is to create a useable prototype. These prototypes can be software code snippets, modified Internet of Things devices, plastics created in a 3D printer, or interesting robotic solutions to solve a problem to name a few.

Key to an RPE success is providing clear objectives, selecting innovative subject matter experts, providing highly-modifiable work environment. RPE Plans will clearly define the objectives. Each RPE Plan will be written to define the objectives, ideal participants, hardware and software requirements, order of events and time commitment. The subject matter experts will be selected for their knowledge, experience, and ability to innovate. Lastly, DreamPort will serve as the primary environment for RPE execution. DreamPort is designed to host at least one RPE a month with the ability to run two or three different projects simultaneously. Hardware, software, and typical supplies will be available and special requests will be accommodated during the planning phase and during the RPE.

Current & Upcoming RPEs

RPE-016: The Gremlins in the Cloud

November, 2021

In this event, we are hunting gremlins in the cloud. We are looking for defensive participants who can configure security services and install software (if required) to detect previously executed attacks and monitor live to detect new attacks that are launched. We have $15,000 (USD) in prizes to give away to the best performers as determined by us! Registration is open! Read more here


RPE-015: Sage and Sentry

September-October, 2021

In this event we are studying solutions (software and techniques) for performing analytics against cyber threat information. We have $15,000 (USD) in prizes to give away to the best performers as determined by us! Registration is closed. Read more here


RPE-014: Rossum's Universal Robots

September, 2021

This event is open to all colleges, universities, individuals and non-traditional participants who have experience in machine learning applications to network packet capture (PCAP) for automated anomalous behavior identification. We have $10,000 USD in prizes to give away to the best performers as determined by us! Registration is closed. Read more here

Why Register for DreamPort?

The DreamPort welcomes all, but we have to know about you. We hold daily, monthly, and quarterly events by invitation only. By registering with the DreamPort you will receive our periodic emails about upcoming events, new services and capabilities, and mentoring opportunities. We provide a place where you can upload a resume, abstract or other document that describes who you are, what you are expert at, and how you want to help.

This information can also be about your organization or company. We use the information you provide to learn more about your interests and expertise. For example, are you a cyber subject matter expert that would like to engage in a rapid prototyping event (RPE)? We look forward to having you as a part of the DreamPort Partnership Network.

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Past RPEs

RPE-012: The Finches Across the Islands

July - September, 2020

This competition pits two sides of the 'room' against each other on offense versus defense. We are looking for both attackers and defenders to answer a series of questions. Read more here


RPE: The Broken Gear in the Watch 2

May 26 – 28, 2020

We want to test participant's abilities to find and mitigate vulnerabilities in open source embedded device firmware such as switches, routers and firewalls and other devices. During the actual event, participants should be prepared to analyze firmware images. Teams that participated the first time are able to participate again if they wish. Read more here


RPE: The Dangers in DreamValley

May 19 – 21, 2020

In this event, we are studying solutions (software and hardware) to monitor critical infrastructure by deploying them in a scale model city. For the purposes of this event in DreamValley we have several elements we define as critical infrastructure. Read more here


RPE: The Rotten Apple in the Bushel

February 11-13, 2020

On February 11-13, 2020, we will infect hosts within the RodinCorp network we used in RPE-003 with malware and common attacks which will perpetrate the theft of user credentials. This network will operate as normally designed with users and automated processes constantly logging in and out (of a Windows domain), administrators logging and out of services such as the local firewall and SSH and users logging in and out of applications on the local network. Read more here


RPE: The Broken Gear in the Watch

January 14-16, 2020

On January 14-16, 2020, we want to test participant's abilities to find and mitigate vulnerabilities in open source embedded device firmware such as switches, routers and firewalls and other devices. During the actual event, participants should be prepared to analyze firmware images. Read more here


RPE-006: The Defense at Pemberton Mill

June 18 - 21, 2019

We'll be looking for solutions that monitor a fictitious network for vulnerabilities and detect attacks in progress. We want participants to bring solutions for monitoring both information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) networks both in live (with network taps) and offline (PCAP) mode. This event is June 18 - 21. Read more here


RPE-005: The Chameleons and the Snakes

May 21 -23, 2019

In September 2018 we conducted RPE-001 titled 'The Chameleon and the Snake'. While we were very excited to put on this event, as our first RPE it only focused on Windows tools and techniques for signature measurement and diversity. The online world does not take place on Microsoft Windows alone. Defenders must integrate, support and protect other operating systems and hardware on today's networks and so will we. On May 21 - 23, we are going to conduct a similar RPE where we pit offense versus defense but extend out the possible targets to include Linux and Android. Read more here


RPE-004: The Needles in the Haystack

February 26-28, 2019

How difficult is it to actually find a needle in a haystack? We are going to find out. On February 26-28, DreamPort plans to execute an RPE competition where participants design and implement a solution for automatically identifying the most important assets (needles) on the DreamPort HQ network (haystack) without any prior human knowledge. HQ is the network we used and will continue to use in multiple RPE. Our ideal candidate solution must be able to monitor a network via packet capture (PCAP) only, and automatically identify critical computers or endpoints on the network. Read more here


RPE-003: The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

January 29-31, 2019

The Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs published in 1894 includes the tale of the wolf in sheep's clothing. Just as in this tale, DreamPort is playing the Sheperd trying to spot the wolf in the flock. DreamPort plans to execute an RPE competition where participants design, implement or enhance user activity monitoring (UAM) solutions for detecting live and recent insider threat attacks or unauthorized activities. DreamPort is interested in identifying UAM solutions that employ advanced real-time analysis of multiple data sources for detecting unauthorized activities. Read more here


DreamPort First Rapid Prototyping Event

September 17-20, 2018

"The Chameleon and the Snake" specifically targeted malware signature diversity and signature measurement for Microsoft Windows (x86 and amd64) in a simulated operational environment at a realistic pace. Read more here