You are here
PicoCTF: A Game-Based Computer Security Competition for High School Students
Peter Chapman, Jonathan Burket, and David Brumley, Carnegie Mellon University
The shortage of computer security experts is a critical problem. To encourage greater computer science interest among high school students, we designed and hosted a computer security competition called PicoCTF. Unlike existing competitions, PicoCTF focused primarily on offense and presented challenges in the form of a web-based game. Approximately 2,000 teams participated, with students playing for an average of 12 hours. We present the game-based competition design, an evaluation based on survey responses and website interaction statistics, and insights into the students who played. Further we have released our platform and challenges as an open source project, which has been adapted into the curricula of 40 high schools. Since its release in August of 2013, the PicoCTF platform has been used to host six other capture-the-flag competitions.
Open Access Media
USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.