We’ve decoded your Capture the Flag queries (2024)




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Cyber FastTrack


4 min read


Mar 20, 2020


Confused over the CTF? Here are 10 of our top FAQs for instant confidence

We’ve decoded your Capture the Flag queries (3)

We’re moving! Come and find us on www.cyberstart.com/blog where you will find even more tips, tricks and industry support. See you there!

Whether you’re a cyber newb or a ‘been there, hacked that’ pro, sometimes you just need a bit of guidance.

We get it — and we’ll help you get it too. Because we want everyone to understand our Capture the Flag so we can all go on to reach our potential in the cybersecurity industry. Remember, we’re here to inform, engage and inspire you.

With that in mind, we’ve created a list of common FAQs to give you the instant confidence you need to play our CTF. Hack on. Code on. Game on!

1. How does a Capture the Flag prepare you for a job in cybersecurity?

A Capture the Flag is a challenging, problem-solving game that builds your tenacity and persistence skills, while boosting your cybersecurity skills.

It’s based on real-world scenarios, so gives you a glimpse of what a role in cybersecurity could look like. It also helps to familiarise you with industry-standard tools and resources, so you’ll develop the solid knowledge you need before transferring it to your dream career.

2. How will Cyber FastTrack differ this year, compared to last?

We’re still teaching the same topics, as these are the main subjects cybersecurity employers will find desirable. But now there’s exciting new content to test your binary, reversing, exploitation and forensics skills.

Plus, if you’re one of our top performers, you’ll also gain access to CyberStart Game which features the never-seen-before Volcano Base — even more chances to boost your score and thrash the competition.

3. What tools should I practice with before playing the CTF?

From static code to reverse engineering and all the forensics, crypto and binary in between, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with everything. But that might seem an impossible and overwhelming task. So, start small and build your expertise steadily. There’s a wealth of resources online, from white papers to video walk-throughs. Your cyber destiny is just a click away. If you’re wondering what the best tools are to use, check out WireShark, GDB and Binary Ninja.

4. Will the large downloads of forensic challenges slow me down?

No, you shouldn’t have issues with downloads if you’re using a reliable Internet connection. Our forensics-based challenges will appear in the 2nd stage of play, so you’ll have more time then. We’ve optimized the first phase of play to ensure downloads are quick, easy and accessible. Remember, it’s a good idea to have a Virtual Machine set up so you’re prepped and ready to go with all the tools you need to succeed.

5. Should I learn the theory first or skip straight to practical challenges?

It’s important you have a range of skills as the challenges will feature different elements. Whatever you’re aspiring to, a fundamental grasp of theory plus hands-on experience will ensure you have got a good base of learning to be able to apply yourself.

6. What do you class as cheating? Is teamwork allowed?

We want to see the potential in YOU. So please play our Capture the Flag solo. Use it as an honest test of your ability. Remember, if you cheat, you most likely won’t make it through the eligibility stage. Inspiration is fine, emulation is not. We want you to cram as hard as possible for the event itself, but never share or copy anyone else’s work. So, no pooled answers. This is a unique learning opportunity, so use it to the max.

7. What if I get an answer wrong?

We won’t end your play if you get an answer wrong during the Capture the Flag. You can make a total of 30 submissions to find the right answer, and then you’ll get locked for a moment before you can try again. Remember though, that our Capture the Flag is a timed event and you will lose out on moving to the next question if you focus on trying to get the right answer on the one before.

8. Why is our Capture the Flag not on at the weekend? I need to work!

We appreciate that the weekday timing is not ideal for everyone, and we seriously respect and are thankful to everyone who has taken time off to play or fit this around their work schedule. We always consider feedback very seriously so we will definitely think about holding a CTF at the weekend in the future, if the demand is high enough.

9. When will I know whether I’ve won a scholarship?

When the Capture the Flag closes, we’ll count up the scores as quickly as we can. We’ll then release the results and let the top performers know they’re on to the next stage. Top performers will be invited to play CyberStart Game and will need to prove their eligibility before being put forward for the scholarship. We’ll keep you updated through a series of emails — it should only take a few days.

10. Do all students get to play CyberStart Game?

Only top performers from the Capture the Flag will get to play CyberStart Game. But there are multiple chances per year to qualify. If you missed out this time and weren’t one of our top performers, check out our educational videos where we’ll share tips and tricks on how to improve and come back fiercer than ever, fighting for your chance to win a scholarship to the prestigious SANS Institute!

We’ve decoded your Capture the Flag queries (2024)


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