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About HHQ

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About Holiday Hack Quest

Holiday Hack Quest is brought to you by the Counter Hack team, on behalf of the SANS Institute.

We'd like to wish you a very merry holiday season. We hope you'll enjoy this time with friends and family, and spend some time together playing through the 2016 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge. HAVE FUN!

Holiday Hack Quest client code is derived from BrowserQuest, licensed under the MPL.


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Did you forget your password? Please provide us with the email address you used to create your account and we will happily send you a new password.

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By creating an account and participating in this challenge you are agreeing to:

  • • Be kind in your interactions with other players. Do not insult other players. Do not use profane language. Do not interfere with other players' game play.
  • • Accept that we are monitoring all communication within Holiday Hack Quest itself, as well as logging your IP address, email address, and player name.
  • • Avoid consuming significant resources on any Holiday Hack server that would result in a denial of service condition for other players.
  • • Do not attack the Holiday Hack Quest server(s) at or the web server.
  • • Have fun!

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How to play

  • Left click or tap to move, talk to NPCs, and pick up items. You can also use the arrow keys or WASD to move around.
  • As you play, you'll have opportunities to learn about interesting technology with links and references. You'll be able to use this information to help solve the Holiday Hack challenges.
  • You'll also have to talk to game characters to answer specific questions and help analyze in-game assets.
  • Keep an eye out for Easter eggs along the way!

The Toolbar

  • Use the toolbar in the bottom-right of your game window to control game options.
  • Click the speech bubble to chat, or press "Enter".
  • Click the exclamation mark to view your quests, or press "Q"
  • Click the backpack to view your inventory, or press "I"
  • Click the trophy to view your achievements, or press "O"
  • Click the face to mute other players, or press "P"
  • Click the speaker to mute all sounds, or press "M"


  • As you play, you'll meet non-playing characters (NPCs) that provide advice, give you items, or ask you to complete quests. These characters have an underlined player name that is blue. You can talk to these characters using the chat button, but you must be within earshot (about 3-4 tiles.)
  • Other real players have a non-underlined white name. You can talk to them, or mute them by clicking the mute button. You can talk with players using the chat function. To help differentiate yourself from other players, your name will always be yellow.


  • To win Holiday Hack Quest, complete all the achievements shown when you click the achievements button.
  • From the achievements window, click the Twitter and Facebook icons to share your accomplishments with your friends and colleagues.
  • Press "H" to show this help again at any time. Press Esc to close.

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New Achievement Unlocked!