Hacking into computer, networks and websites could easily land you in jail. But what if you could freely test and practice your hacking skills in a legally safe environment?
Facebook just open-sourced its Capture The Flag (CTF) platform to encourage students as well as developers to learn about cyber security and secure coding practices.
Capture the Flag hacking competitions are conducted at various cyber security events and conferences, including Def Con, in order to highlight the real-world exploits and cyber attacks.
The CTF program is an effective way of identifying young people with exceptional computer skills, as well as teaching beginners about common and advanced exploitation techniques to ensure they develop secure programs that cannot be easily compromised.
Facebook CTF Video Demo:
Since 2013, Facebook has itself hosted CTF competitions at events across the world and now, it is opening the platform to masses by releasing its source code on GitHub.
"We built a free platform for everyone to use that takes care of the backend requirements of running a CTF, including the game map, team registration, and scoring," said Gulshan Singh, Software Engineer at Facebook Threat Infrastructure.
In general, Capture The Flag competition hosts a series of security challenges, where participants have to hack into defined targets and then defending them from other skilled hackers.
"The current set of challenges include problems in reverse-engineering, forensics, web application security, cryptography, and binary exploitation. You can also build your own challenges to use with the Facebook platform for a customized competition," Mr. Singh said.
Many institutions and organizations now have realized that gamification of cyber security and hacking is beyond the traditional ways to train your mental muscles and keep sharp your skills that otherwise only come up when doomsday scenarios happen.