Iron Hacker 2012 Aftermath

Iron Hacker 2012 Aftermath "Password Authentication Sucks"; those were the magic words all attendees of Iron Hacker 2012 were waiting for last weekend.  Iron Hacker, hosted on December 8th 2012, is a Launch Academy's first hackathon loosely based on the TV show "Iron Chef", in which contestants only learn the theme of the event the day-of.  While the majority of hackathons are based around specific themes that are released well in advance, our experiment with Iron Hacker was to see what people could come up with, as time ticks away at their creative and development capabilities.

Another facet of the Iron Hacker experiment is to restrict attendance to developers only; attendees had to pass through a series of challenges to ensure they could pass the basic level of coding. While many hackathons allow a broad range of interested parties to attend, Iron Hacker is focused on being a "Hacker's Hackathon," where small teams create something as impressive as possible, without regard for marketability of their app.

The teams were given 9 hours of coding time before they had to present their project. Presentations included a live demo of their end product: no PowerPoint  no "works on my machine", just code running in production is allowed during a presentation. The final aspect of the Iron Hacker experiment is that all judging is done by attendee voting and not by a judges panel. The champion teams for Iron Hacker 2012 were:

1st Place: Iron Hacker's Memorial

Iron Hacker's Memorial uses a unique code sent to your registered mobile phone to authenticate a web page taking into account your location to verify your identity.

2nd Place: Beat Auth 

Using the principle of the "secret knock", BeatAuth replaces traditional alphanumeric sequence for password with a tapped out rhythmic pattern on multiple keys on the keyboard.

3rd Place: DiaLog 

Instead of storing your passwords in a local keychain, dialog stores them securely in the cloud, which gives you access to your keychain everywhere you go. For maximum security, two-factor authentication is used with text messaging.

The demos were truly impressive. In spite of the zero prep-time and fairly stringent rules surrounding the demos, all teams did an excellent job of presenting their end products in a a manner unseen at hackathons. To view the full list of participating projects, please visit the hacker league page.

We'd like to thank our helpers: Kaitlyn Demasi, Miranda Lewis, and Lindsay Watt and our sponsors ClioIndochino, and Microsoft Bizspark; we couldn't have put this on without you!

The next Iron Hacker is tentatively scheduled for the Spring of 2013. So stay tuned and get ready to hack!  To get Iron Hacker updates, you can sign up for the mailing list at




Post by: Ian McKinnon