Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The Navy is holding the first track of its fifth annual HACKtheMACHINE competition this week.
The event, which began Monday and continues through Sunday, typically includes in-person competitions -- but those have been delayed until 2021 due to COVID-19.
Instead technologists from the military, private and public industries and academia will work together virtually.
"In concert with NAVSEA's 'open for business' and 'on time delivery' model, we wanted to hold part of HACKtheMACHINE virtually this year to ensure continuity of business, and to challenge the Navy to explore new ways of executing the mission," said Tim Barnard, the deputy chief technology officer at Naval Sea Systems Command.
The second and third tracks will take place in March, but the first track -- which has three phases -- takes place this week and is free and open to the public.
During the first phase, contestants will analyze traffic captured from maritime navigation electronics and identify the network's sensors and devices.
New members will be trained to understand the data and begin to apply their own creative solutions as they work alongside teammates.
The virtual event also includes a "Jeopardy!"-style game where existing cybersecurity experts can learn maritime-specific security skills.
In the final phase, top contestants will be able to "attack" an actual maritime cyber testbed over the Internet.
"The military's aviation community attracts talent through the Blue Angels," Anderson said. "Well, HACKtheMACHINE is our Blue Angels for geeks. We want to attract the attention of talented people who might have not thought of serving in the Navy, whether as a Sailor or civilian.