Skip to content

What is a Capture the Flag (CTF) event?

Capture the Flag Overview

A Capture the Flag (CTF) event is a computer security competition, usually held by an educational sponsor. There are many CTF formats, including Jeopardy Style, Attack/Defense, Red Team/Blue Team, Network/Host Forensics, etc., covering a wide array of security related topics from host based security, programming/scripting, system administration, reverse-engineering, to network sniffing, WiFi hacking, protocol analysis, and cryptography.

Attack/Defense CTFs are usually run in virtualized environments, use desktop virtual machine software such as VMWare, or are run in restricted network labs as they can be somewhat unruly and dangerous to host on live office or school networks. This is where the Virginia Cyber Range really shines.

Capture the Flag in the Virginia Cyber Range

The Virginia Cyber Range has pre-configured Jeopardy style, web-based competition environments that can host hundreds of simultaneous users. As a CTF Admin, you can create these environments from within the Exercise Area of the Virginia Cyber Range. Our CTF platform, called CloudCTF, is designed to safely host CTF events that will allow your students to compete and learn in a fun and effective way. For a quick overview of CloudCTF, please see the article titled CloudCTF Overview.

To learn more about the Cyber Range's CTF environments and web based competitions, please see the article titled Getting Started in CloudCTF.

For more general information in CTFs, please see this article on capture the flag competitions: Capture the flag - Wikipedia.

Have a Question? Contact Support

If you experience any issues starting or viewing CloudCTF in your web browser, please see the article titled Can't Launch CloudCTF for helpful tips on resolving the matter.

We're here to help you. If you still have questions after reviewing the information above, please feel free to submit a ticket with our support team and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.