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Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back

The Challenge

For the second year in a row, the FTC traveled to DEF CON to enlist tech gurus to help fight robocalls. This year, we challenged contestants to create tools people could use to block and forward robocalls automatically to a honeypot — a data collection system that researchers and investigators can use to study the calls.

The contest had two phases. During the Qualifying Phase, contestants built and submitted their robocall solutions to the judges. The Final Phase took place at DEF CON 23. The finalists—team RoboKiller and Hemant Sengar—competed to “seed” their solutions and collect the highest number of robocalls. Finalists also demonstrated their solutions to DEF CON 23 attendees.

The Results

First Place $25,000

Team RoboKiller: Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles

Runner Up $10,500

Hemant Sengar

The winning mobile app, RoboKiller, allows users to block and forward unwanted robocalls to a crowd-sourced honeypot. The app uses audio-finger print technology to identify unwanted robocalls, and send them to a SpamBox that users can access at any time. RoboKiller also gives users more control over how and when they receive calls, applying white and black list filtering and offering personal settings.

Contest Winners at DEF CON

Contest Winners Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles at DEF CON 23

Congratulations and Thank You

Congratulations to the prize winners! We hope they bring their solutions to the marketplace soon.

FTC staff would like to thank its contest partners Pindrop Security and the CRTC for all their help in making this contest a success. Many thanks also to the DEF CON community for welcoming us back in 2015!


For more information about the contest, check out the press release. If you have any questions or comments, please email us at