Cybersecurity has become a top priority for organizations as cyber-attacks have increased and data breaches have increased in recent times. This has led to a high demand for cybersecurity professionals. Cybersecurity professionals must undergo rigorous training in order to stay on top of the constantly changing information security landscape. CTF (Capture the Flag) competitions are a great way for professional and aspiring ethical hackers to improve their skills and have fun doing so.
This article will help you understand the CTF and how to prepare for the CTF competitions.
What is CTF?
CTF is an information security competition in which participants are given a set of tasks to gain access to servers and steal encrypted strings from hidden files. This string is also known as a flag. It is similar to sensitive information. Participants use their ethical hacking skills to capture these flags and then upload them to the CTF server.
Each flag is awarded points according to the difficulty level. The higher the task’s difficulty, the more points you will receive. The winner of the CTF competition will be the participant or team with the most points. These CTF events are organized by many information security groups.
There are three types of CTF events.
Jeopardy style CTF: Jeopardy is a game where you must solve a series of tasks or take a test. To get a bit encoded string, you will need to use all your information security skills. Only after you have completed the previous challenges will the next ones be unlocked. Jeopardy-style covers Web and Cryptography, Reverse Designing, Pawning, Forensics and Steganography-related challenges.
Attack-Defense Style CTF : Two groups are competing against each other in Attack-Defense style CTF. This involves breaking into the security of the other group to obtain the flag and protecting your host computer from the competitors. Each group is given a time limit to identify and fix vulnerabilities in their systems before the contest begins. Both infiltration and defense against the opponents’ attacks earn points. To score maximum points, it requires team coordination. This type of event is also known by the Red Team/Blue Team CTF.
Mixed Style CTFs (CTFs): This mix of the Attack-Defense and Jeopardy-style CTFs is called the mixed style. Organisers can organize an attack-defense competition with different types of challenges or a jeopardy contest with the attack-defense challenges.
What are the types of challenges that CTF events present?
It can seem daunting to think about all the infosec skills required to participate in a CTF contest. You don’t need to be an expert in every skill because CTF events mainly include the following challenges:
Binary exploitation: These tasks require a deep understanding of programming. You must identify a flaw in a program and exploit it for control of the shell or to alter the program’s function.
Cryptography: These are the challenges of cryptography. They involve converting strings to another format or encryption and decryption ciphertexts in order to reach the flag.
Reverse engineering: This is a way to find the solution to a problem. Reverse engineering involves the conversion of a compiled code to an easily understood format.
Forensics – In these types of challenges you will need to find the executable or flag that is hidden in various files. A flag, for example, may be