Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CTF?

CTF stands for Capture the Flag. In the case of our event the flag is a string of text hidden on a server, or an answer to a question or riddle.
The goal of a CTF is to find and capture all of the flags for your team, and to do it the fastest. Each flag is worth points to the team's total score, and at the end of the game the team that has the highest score will win.
Each challenge will have it's own flag, and will have it's own input box for that flag. Once you get the flag by completing the challenge, enter the flag into the challenge's input box to receive points for that challenge.
Some challenges are worth more points than others, i.e. a challenge that is harder and takes longer to complete will often be worth more points than a challenge that is quicker or easier. So if you are getting stuck on a challenge that is worth a lot of points, take a break to complete some of the easier challenges.

What does a flag look like?

Flags are normally prefixed with the word flag and then inside of curly braces will be a string of text. E.x:
For a flag such as the one above, the string teach_them_to_hack would be the flag that would be entered into the challenge's input box.
Although we will try to keep flags in this format, some challenges will ask for plain text answers as their flag.

How can I support this event

How are the challenges ordered?

Challenges are ordered first by category, and then by difficulty.
Challenges are placed on a Jeopardy style board.

What determines a winner?

Winners determined at the end of the CTF, the team that ends with the most points will be declared the winner.

What if there is a tie?

The team who obtained the points first will be placed above teams with the same number of points.

Are non middle school students allowed to participate?

Absolutely! Everyone will be allowed to take part in the CTF, however non-middle school students will be ranked separately.

Will there be prizes?

Of course there will be prizes!!
(all prizes have been donated/payed for by our sponsors).

How are prizes awarded?

Grand prizes will be awarded to the top student 3 teams, And more prizes will be awarded as funding allows.
Keep an eye on our twitter during the event, we often give out free swag packs to those who respond to our tweets.
After the event we will contact the winning teams for mailing addresses. Our work does not end after the CTF, so please be patient and keep an eye on your inbox.

What equipment will I need?

Full participation in the competition requires only a computer with a modern web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer 9+, etc.) and the ability to install applications.

What is considered cheating?

Participants must abide by a few common sense rules that ensure the competition is fair.
These rules are copied from picoCTF's FAQ:
Attacking the scoring server, other teams, or machines not explicitly designated as targets is cheating.
This includes both breaking into such machines and denying others access to them (for example, by altering a key or ping-flooding).
Sharing keys or providing overly-revealing hints with other teams is cheating, as is being directly assisted by personnel outside the team (using tools from the internet is OK; asking people on the internet to help you solve the problem is not).
We encourage you to solve problems in novel and creative ways using all available resources, but we do require that you solve them yourselves.