Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Notes about DEFCON 21 CTF

Last week was DEFCON 21, one of the many conferences I'd been saving up for. I was fortunate to play in the Capture the Flag game this year with team CLGT. I like the design of the game, so I'm jotting down here a few notes about that.

  1. This is a zero sum game. There is a fixed amount of points in the game. These points change hand but they are not produced, nor consumed. When one team earns points, some other team must lose points.
  2. Defense is at least as important as offense. Gained points may be taken away quickly due to failure in maintaining a required service level agreement (SLA), and breach of security.

As an analogy, each team is given a patchy water tank filled with some water. The amount of water in the tank is your points. Your goal is to steal water from other teams. If the patch on your tank is broken, the water runs out. Therefore, it is extremely important to properly fix the tank up. Even if you have only one unfixed hole, water still runs out quickly.

Unlike other CTFs, DEFCON 21 CTF placed great emphasis on the blue side of the coin. I like that. It feels more wholesome.

By the way, if you're wondering how we did, the answer is our water ran dry ;).

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