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The Fun and Future of CTF
Andy Davis, Tim Leek, Michael Zhivich, Kyle Gwinnup, and William Leonard, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Capture the Flag (CTF) is well-established as a computer security contest of skill in which teams compete in real time for prizes and bragging rights. At the time of this writing, CTFtime.org—a tracking web site devoted to aggregating team standings across various CTF events—lists 76 such contests, and more spring up each year. But what is the point, exactly? In this paper we detail our experiences in a third year of designing, building and running a CTF for Boston-area undergraduate and graduate students. This will serve two purposes: first, others desiring to stage such an event can benefit from our experience, and second, the details of our CTF will provide a concrete context for a broader discussion and deeper questions on the value and future of this type of activity.
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