As cyber-attacks and data breach incidents have increased in recent years, Cybersecurity is one of the organizations’ top priorities. This has resulted in high demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in the market. To stay ahead in the continuously evolving information security domain, cybersecurity professionals undergo rigorous training to master the information security skills. Capture the flag (CTF) competitions serve as a great way for aspiring and professional ethical hackers to improve and evaluate their skills in a more fun way.
This article will help beginners understand what the CTF is and how you can prepare for the CTF competitions.
What is CTF?
CTF is an information security contest in which participants are assigned a certain number of tasks to get into the servers and steal an encoded string from a hidden file. This string resembles sensitive information and is known as a flag. Participants capture these flags using their ethical hacking skills and put these flags into the CTF server.
Points are allotted for each flag as per the difficulty level of the tasks—the higher the difficulty level of the task, the more points you will score. The participant or the team scoring the highest points will be the winner of the CTF event. Many information security communities organize these CTF events.
Types of CTF events?
CTF events can be broadly categorized into the following three parts:
Jeopardy-style CTF: In Jeopardy-style, there is either a test or many tasks you have to solve. You need to apply all the information security aptitudes you own to get a bit of encoded string. The next challenges in the series will get unlocked only after the completion of previous ones. Jeopardy-style covers Web, Cryptography, Reverse designing, Pawning, Forensics, Steganography related challenges.
Attack-Defense Style CTF: In Attack-Defense style CTF, two groups are competing with each other. In this, you have to break into other group’s security posture to get the flag while protecting your host machine from the opponents. Before the contest starts, a definite time frame is given to both the groups to identify the vulnerabilities in their systems and fix them. The groups obtain points for infiltration as well as defending against the opponent’s attacks. It requires coordination among team members to score maximum points. This type of event is also known as the Red Team/Blue Team CTF.
Mixed Style CTFs: The mixed style is a blend of both the Jeopardy-style and the Attack-Defense style CTFs. The organizers can set up an attack-defense competition having challenges of different kinds or a jeopardy competition having the attack-defense challenges.
Types of challenges in CTF events?
The thought of mastering all the infosec skills for participating in a CTF contest may look daunting. But you don’t have to master all the skills because a CTF event mainly includes the following challenges:
Benefits of playing CTFs
Now you understand the type of CTF events and challenges to face during a CTF competition, let’s take a peek at the benefits of taking part in these contests:
Preparing for CTF contests
CTF events are practically based. It requires deep applied knowledge and strong ethical hacking skills to solve CTF problems. You need to strengthen your base in basic programming knowledge and hacking techniques. Following are some tips to prepare for these contests:
CTF with infosec train
Infosec Train is a leading IT security training provider offering training programs for a range of highly reputed certifications of the information security domain. Infosec Train’s Capture the Flag (CTF) Training is an excellent opportunity to learn industry experts’ ethical hacking skills. CTF training program comprises of various tasks and challenges to polish the problem-solving abilities of candidates. The training emphasizes upskilling their existing knowledge regarding Penetration testing and provides them with hands-on practical experience to enhance their skillset.
Check the latest schedule for the CTF training program in the link provided below: