Here’s a great twist on the standard hackathon formula: HackFu, a challenge by MWR InfoSecurity, tasks participants with solving complex cybersecurity puzzles to finish a competition.

Solving a part of the puzzle gives you a password to decrypt the next part of the story.

Think of it as an Easter egg hunt mixed with elements of the Saw movie franchise, and throw in a dystopian cyberpunk setting and you have HackFu.

The difference here is that this is set in the real world and you can win some cool prizes and the admiration of your peers.

Entering isn’t as easy as filling out a form and participating. To get involved you’ll need to download a very strange text document which is basically a very complex encryption puzzle. Once you have an answer, you’ll need to send it, along with your CV and a letter about yourself in an email to the organisers. If you make it through the application process, you will win entry to the main event overseas in June.

While you will need to get yourself there if you want to participate in the flesh, there’s also a “remote” option to take part online.

As shown above, the theme for last year was a security breach associated with a prison complex. The flavour text for this year is suitably mysterious:

In the days of your great grandparents, mankind destroyed its civilisation with nuclear weapons. Now you, the child of a drug addicted father and a mother you never knew, scavenge in the dangerous ruins of the old cities just to survive, hiding from hideous mutated beasts and cleverly disarming surprisingly resilient ancient security systems.On one such scavenging mission, you happen upon a dusty flash drive which piques your curiosity. Its contents are cryptic, but, more surprisingly, recent. And once you decipher its encrypted message, you realise that someone out there is testing you.You don your gas mask and head out into the wasteland on the trail of the next HackFu challenge..

Now that you (kind of) know what’s going on, let’s look at the prizes. On offer here is: A DIY 3D printer kit, various drones and quadcopters, a smart paper plane kit, and various small items such as T-shirts and USB sticks.

How to enter

If you’re still a bit lost in all this, join the club. We don’t know if the information regarding this contest is extremely poorly presented, or deliberately vague (in keeping with theme), but finding solid information to present to you was a massive headache. We have been informed that more details will spring up as time goes on, and we assume those who can solve the above puzzle will be given more information we’re not privy to.

That having been said, are you not intrigued?