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Global Capture the Flag game for hackers

posted 1:21pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004 - submitted by Christopher R. Anderson


February 2005 will see the first ever hacking game to take place on the public Internet, sponsored by the security group Ghetto Hackers. Similar games have been played before on a smaller scale, but those were generally on private networks not connected to the Internet. For this three-day game, Ghetto Hackers plans on using the Internet as the medium, but containing the traffic via use of VPN connections.

Ghetto Hackers' much smaller Capture the Flag hacking competition called "Root Fu" had 8 teams competing at the past three Def Con conventions. The larger version will be called "Mega Root Fu," and the organizers hope to have a thousand people sign up. Teams will be limited to the United States, and registration is open until February.

Most feel the competition will have little impact on the rest of the world, but there is a risk that the hacking won't be contained solely within the VPN network created. According to security expert Bruce Schneier, "It will pretty likely be contained. Sure, it's possible that some stuff will get out, but people are not going to be doing large-scale, uncontrollable attacks, like worms or viruses."

Read more on this topic from CNET.

There have been worse ideas in the world, though I would be lying if I didn't admit that this makes me a little nervous. Sure, the network can be designed using private address space so the attacks never leave the contest network, but even if all of that is perfect it will still be chewing up bandwidth others rely on. But I guess it is just as much the contestants' network as it is mine.

Hopefully this will work as a creative release for people who want to hack into systems. Maybe this will give them the opportunity to try their hand at the kind of hacking that genuine networks usually supply.

If you are looking out for Mega Root Fu this February, you may notice a slight slow down, but I doubt it will tear things up.

USER COMMENTS 17 comment(s)
Da hood (1:26pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
You can take the hacker out of the Ghetto but can never take the Ghetto out of the backer! - by Deees Sanchez
Hacker Training (1:32pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
This is nothing more than hackers showing off hacking skills, and will only encourage bad things. No good can come of this. Stay away from the Dark Side, Luke! - by ObiWan K.
i don't know (1:51pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
seeing as this a capture the flag event, it seems that this is both an offensive and defensive hacking competetion, so what better way to improve securing your boxes than in a hacker's game of capture the flag??? - by boooger
flag room (2:16pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
My flag room is inside a MacOS 8.1 Workgroup Server.

Good F$king Luck Guys. May the force be with you.
- by MacJedi
Sweet, I'm in (2:51pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
This is great. What a good use of skills without doing any damage. Oddly, it reminds me of paintball.
I'm out of teaching right now, but if I was I would setup a game myself.
Back in the '70s, early '80s you would converse with unix sysops, even at military installs, when caught. My nick was zigzag, because I would enter different run levels on my way to root, often switching logins. They knew we meant no harm. After that, as sysop myself for 8 years, I used that knowledge to secure my installs. - by tech
Military installs eh? (3:29pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
What kind of conversations did you have? - by thaw
Sound like a fun hacking game. (5:15pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
I would like to sign up, but I have no skills of hacking at all. I'm an computer tech support at my job. I mostly do hardware stuff not software.

would be nice if they record a video on the events with subtitles. - by Wack2k
Full of Poo (5:46pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
Tech, you're full of it. - by Black Wall
re: wack2k (6:15pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
you wanna watch a video of some goober drinking pepsi and eating nachos, typing away at a linux console? - by ex
I Like Ponies (8:07pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
I don't like to ride them, mostly just to see them as they graze happily in the field.

One of my favorite...wait a second...this isn't - by FriskyCritters
nintendo (10:33pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
nintendo is the bestest system ever than xbox's. - by Danny Glover
Well... (10:37pm EST Tue Aug 03 2004)
If they keep track of what happens to the flag, they could use the information to help secure systems (is microsoft reading this?) - by Yoss
??? (12:00am EST Wed Aug 04 2004)
It would have been nice if the article explained what a hacker capture the flag is... - by gilligan
RE: Tech's comments (10:49am EST Wed Aug 04 2004)
I defamed BBS' in the 80s and eventually got visited by the local Feds. I can only imagine what military institutions would do to you. I can see college admins chattin' ya up, but IMHO if you were knocking on Uncle Sam's backdoor he would open up with a shotgun, and the conversations you would have now would be with the prison-mate behind ya... - by Remember_McHenryBBS?
hmm (2:38pm EST Wed Aug 04 2004)
sounds boring to me. i'd rather be playing ctf on SoF :) - by BenTheWorm
re BenTheWorm (8:37am EST Thu Aug 05 2004)
You got that right BOORRIINNGG.
Hacking is 99% probing research and testing the other 1% is mildly amusining. bin there dun that..
With a competition like this you dont have to cover your tracks in or out.
It may come down to who can run through the brute force passsword attack first dependent on bandwidth and proccesor power. What would be amusing would be to counter hack the hackers while there attempting there incursion. - by FreeKE
Re: FreeKE (3:23am EST Wed Aug 11 2004)
That's half the game. CTF is both offensive and defensive. Ideally you'd have 3/4 of your team attacking other servers, and the other 1/4 would be focused on securing your own system, shutting down those who are attemting to hack your server. - by taz

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