In an effort to help promote cybersecurity, Facebook is open-sourcing its Capture the Flag (CTF) platform on GitHub. CTF is the company’s hacking competition platform that aims to teach about unfamiliar security technologies as well as exploitation techniques.
Facebook has been using its CTF platform since 2013 to educate students about computer science and security. The platform is designed to make it easier and more accessible to teach and learn software security by providing a way to host Jeopardy and “king of the hill” style competitions.
“Although news reports about security bugs are now commonplace, it’s not always obvious how people find these flaws and how you can develop the skills needed to find and protect against malicious exploits,” wrote Gulshan Singh, a software engineer at Facebook, in a blog post. “By open-sourcing our platform, schools, student groups and organizations across all skill levels can now host competitions, practice sessions, and conferences of their own to teach computer science and security skills.”
The platform is designed to provide the back-end requirements for hosting a hacking competition as well as the game map, team registration and scoring elements. In addition to open-sourcing the platform, the company will also provide a small set of challenges for students and teachers to get started on. Current challenges include reverse engineering, forensics, Web application security, cryptography, and binary exploitation, according to the CTF team. The open-source code can also be used to build custom competitions.
“Not only do CTFs have the ability to teach more technical skills than you’ll get in an average computer science program, they can also help you break into the security industry,” Singh wrote. “When I started looking for full-time positions, I found security job interviews to be a lot like CTF challenges, which made it easier for me to demonstrate my technical skills—and I was able to make an impact from day one.”
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