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Resources for Capture The Flag (CTF) Challenges

This post consists of a list of resources for computer security enthusiasts to learn and prepare for CTF (Capture The Flag) challenges and ethical hacking.

Being someone whom is interested in Capture The Flag (CTF) games and challenges, I always find myself looking at how I can pick up new skills and techniques to add to my arsenal, to utilize them in solving the challenges designed by the creators of the game (or competition such as DEFCON, ROOTCON, and many more).

Capture The Flag (CTF)

For those who are new to this term, CTF are computer security related, hacking kind of game or competitions which generally consist of participants breaking, investigating, reverse engineering and doing anything they can to reach the end goal and capture the “flag”. 

The games are usually categorized in various forms, a non-exhaustive list would consist of Exploit Development, Web Hacking, Reverse Engineering, Packet Capture Analysis, Cryptography, Steganography, Binary Analysis, Mobile Security, and many more others.

Capture The Flag @ DEFCON 17
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia/Capture_the_flag

Just to clear a misconception of CTF: they need not be a competition. They can be Virtual Machines (VM) that you can download from VulnHub. Check out some of the VulnHub write-ups such as the Write-ups for Kioptrix series, Stapler or FristiLeaks.

They can also be free challenges hosted online for users to play them for free, such as OverTheWire. Do also check out the OverTheWire: Bandit Write-up and InfoSec Institute CTF #1: Hacking for n00bz.

CTF Guides 

The following are two pretty good CTF guides and resources websites which I read when I was just starting out. If you are new to CTF or is interested in understanding more about CTF, you can check them out.

  • CTF Guide – Trail of Bits – introduces CTF and covers a few topics, such as vulnerability discovery, exploit creation and forensics
  • CTFs Resources – introduces CTF as well, and covers a few other topics, such as different methods of cryptography, steganography and web hacking