Live Lesson: Lowering the Barriers to Capture The Flag Administration and Participation


Kevin Chung, CTFd LLC


Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions have a rich history of incredibly technical individuals providing information security resources for each other. CTFs have been used by the information security community for education and assessment for over a decade. They’re widely regarded as an excellent introduction to the information security industry given their competitive aspect, team building nature, and lack of long-term commitment.

CTF organizers have long experimented with exploring its relevance in areas beyond technical competitions. The foundation of CTF is rooted in technical education but one of the desired evolutions of CTF is as an e-sport [1]. In this paper, we present our perspective on why the current model of CTF is not a viable e-sport. This perspective will be presented alongside ideas around advancing the adoption of CTF, and CTFd, a readily available open-source framework for educators, recruiters, and companies to integrate CTFs into their pipelines.

CTFd eases the amount of development needed to bring a CTF to fruition. Aside from the challenge views for standard CTF functionality, it features score graphs, an administration panel, a built-in hint economy, and archival functionality. In addition, CTFd supports plugins and themes for additional customizability. This paper will be presented alongside a demonstration of the features of CTFd and different ways it can be integrated in computer education.

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@inproceedings {205217,
author = {Kevin Chung},
title = {Live Lesson: Lowering the Barriers to Capture The Flag Administration and Participation},
booktitle = {2017 USENIX Workshop on Advances in Security Education (ASE 17)},
year = {2017},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug,