Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Online Cyber Security Competitions

Computer security has been in the news a lot lately with all the talk of the FBI and Apple going at it in court. Students are interested as well. In the last 24 hours or so information about two cybersecurity and computer science competitions have come across my virtual desk. I thought I would share them with you.

PACTF, short for Phillips Academy Capture The Flag

PACTF, short for Phillips Academy Capture The Flag, is a free online cyber security and computer science competition for middle- and high-school students. Teams of up to 5 competitors will face a series of increasingly challenging problems, in which they must break, hack, decrypt, reverse engineer or do whatever it takes to find hidden answer strings known as flags. Once a team exploits the security vulnerability purposefully left in the problem material, they can submit the correct flag to receive points and improve their ranking. Challenges will be distributed across the spectrum, for beginners and for experts, and they will feature binary exploitation and reversing, cryptography, and other miscellaneous topics. Prizes totaling over $2,000 will be awarded to the top-ranking teams.

imageThe entire competition will be online at
and will last for 3 weeks: April 10–30, 2016.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at


HSCTF 3, An Online Computer Science Competition, Running From May 14-21

HSCTF is a free online programming and cyber security competition organized by high school students for high school students. Last year, in HSCTF 2, we had over 2,300 competitors from over 40 countries. Competitors in High School Capture the Flag (or HSCTF) will learn computer science skills, and use ingenuity to discover a series of increasingly hard to find "flags" encrypted, hidden, or otherwise stored somewhere difficult to access. HSCTF includes topics such as computer security, programming, algorithm design, and programming language design. Previous prizes totaled over $1,000 and assorted Facebook swag.

The HSCTF team will be releasing a substantial set of practice problems on April 8th. We will also be available for video conferences with teachers, classes and clubs in the intervening time until the competition to go over problems and answer any question you may have.image

You can sign up for email updates from our website, If you have any questions, you can email us at

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