Call for DEFCON Capture the Flag Organizers Version 2.0.

An evil large multinational corporation, or...
An nefarious group of genius autonomous hackers, or...
A shadowy government organization from somewhere in the world

Host, recreate, and innovate the worlds most (in)famous hacking contest.

For everlasting fame, intrusive media interviews, the respect of your peers, or the envy of your enemies.

Do you have what it takes and know what we're talking about?


All things must change, and after years of hard work and consistent advances Kenshoto has decided that it is time to let someone else have a chance to run CTF. We will forever miss their crazy videos and clever configurations. After taking it to the next level, creating a spectator sport out of geeks sitting at their keyboards 0wning machines, and helping CTF gain fabulous recognition around the world, Kenshoto has officially retired as the organizer and hosts of DEFCON's CTF. The contest is not over, merely in transition to the next keepers of the flame. This is the opportunity you and your crew, company, or government have been waiting for!

You too can pour your heart, countless thousands of hours into planning, producing, and executing the world’s most famous contest of hacking skills. All of the contests at DEFCON are run by volunteers, and CTF is no different.

My intent is to make a game that's fun for its participants. Kenshoto did a fabulous job of allowing CTF to be a team and spectators sport through scoring visualizations, commentators, game updates. They took it to a new level in one area, and you can take it to another. The heart of hacking has many facets!

CTF is made of many parts from the actual teams, the organizers, observers, third party supporters, the press, con attendees wanting in on some action, and those newbies wondering WTF.

You must design a bad-ass contest. This contest could have a multiplayer / team aspect, but does not have to. Your contest can be based on previous games, but shouldn't be a mere replication of previous games. You can determine the teams/participants before DEFCON through a pre-qualification phase, or at the conference with a first come-first served approach. You can have multiple contests (for example, one contest with individuals, one with teams). The contest can be totally electronic, or it can take into account social engineering, physical security bypass, even hardware modification. You determine the constraints, size of teams, deciding if remote teams can play - really almost everything is up in the air.

You design the network topology. You determine the rules. Your group will determine the winner, and the losers. The idea behind this CFP is not to ask people to reproduce past Capture the Flags, but to have your group reinvent and create something new, based on the same creativity and energy that CTF is known for. Challenge your friends!

Clearly communicate the rules to the participants before the contest, set up clear eligibility requirements (if any) before the conference, set up the network, provide any infrastructure that you wish to be part of the game, referee the game while it is taking place, create a scoring system that observers can view to get an idea of what is going on, and determine winners. The easier it is for contestants to understand how to win, the more fair the contest will feel. The contest must end no later than two hours before the end of DEFCON (5pm Sunday) in order to provide time for final scoring and the awards ceremony.

Interfere with the DEFCON networks (ie: it must be a separate network), interfere with the 'live internet', involve non-consensual parties (ie: anyone who hasn't explicitly agreed to take part in the contests), take bribes that are not equally shared with the DEFCON staff. You must be totally neutral and fair.

In the past network traffic on CTF has been captured for later forensic analysis and shared with the community to further ids and network sniffer developers. Expect that should we want to do this again there is a way to give access to those wanting to capture traffic while not actively participating in the contest.

Allowing 'lone gunman' to participate (not require group play). This could be a separate contest, or they could participate in competition with teams (handicaps for teams, perhaps)

Allowing 'outside players', perhaps a VPN connection with one representative at DEFCON, the rest of a shadowy team located elsewhere in the globe. Incorporating non intrusion/defense techniques to the game - stenography, covert communication channels, riddles/puzzles, social engineering, hardware hacking, radio direction finding, etc.

A 'theme' (like forensics, covert channels, attacking, defending, application security, host security, etc.) that would be announced beforehand with the contest focused around the theme.

On any innovations or revolutionary enhancements to the game. On the feasibility of your team getting all the work done (note: we will publicly humiliate you if you get accepted and fail to perform!). On the amount of fun (as measured in FunMeters) that participants will have.

Once you submit your ideas (Yes you can submit more than one concept) we will start communicating with you to clarify anything we don't understand. Feel free to ask us questions so you know what you are getting yourself into. A group that work well together is almost a must. Ghetto Hackers and Kenshoto did very well because they had a large enough pool of talent to draw upon when building their automated systems.

Badges to the conference and access to the CTF area for setup on Thursday, the day before the con. Physical space roughly equal to that which has been provided at past DEFCONs. Tables for participants to use. Screens and LCD projectors to display data with. Network connections from the net if necessary. Some network gear and power strips - please let us know early what you need so we can plan for it. Prizes for the winning people or teams. If you want to turn the CTF area into a giant free-for-all we can get the powerstrips and tables. If you want it to be like years past with eight team tables we can do that too. Want to drop some clues in the printed con program? Want to incorporate some clues or components into the attendee badges? We can do that too! Winning teams get a maximum of eight Black Badges.

If you haven’t been to DEFCON before, you should understand the environment your contest must operate in! will get you started. These may help give you an idea about past contests, what has worked, and what hasn't.

Ceazar gave a presentation on running hacking contests at Black Hat Asia (learn from a master):

A rundown of DEFCON 16 CTF by atlas of team l@stplace (DEFCON 14 and 15 CTF Winners):

Walkthroughs of the last 3 CTF Competitions :

Interview with Def Con CTF Winning Team Member Vika Felmetsger (2005):

An article on the 2004 CTF on Network World:

Ceazar's How to Win the DEFCON CTF:

So you want to play a game?

1.Fill out the application below. You will receive an acknowledgment that your submission was received within 48 business hours of us receiving it unless we are snowed in and the interwebs are broke.

2.We will use relatively simple criteria to judge your entry. 1:) Feasibility of your team pulling it off taking into consideration who is involved in your team, resources you have, etc. 2:) The amount of fun we imagine the participants will have with your contest, 3:) the coolness or innovation you bring to the contests.

3.We will contact finalists and ask them further questions, and talk over any questions that we will inevitably have.

4.We will announce the winner(s) on as soon as we can after the close of the CTF CFP date. It could be possible that we will choose multiple teams that run concurrent but different types of contests.

5.We will hammer out details over the phone, participating in your game creation (not interfering with it, just ensuring everything is going smoothly). We will conference call with you and may fly you out to sunny Seattle to meet with us to discuss planning for the event.

6. Kenshoto has volunteered to spend time working with the selected team, answering their questions, explaining their process and what they learned in designing their game. They have a lot of experience and skill so this is a resource you will want to take advantage of.

All contact information will be kept private, and not disclosed outside the DEFCON planning organization.

About you and your group

Name of your organization:

Name of primary contact:

Email Address of Primary contact:

Phone number of primary contact:

Number of people in your organization (that will actively be participating in creating/planning/executing CTF):

Experience team members have had in planning events (This could be a bake sale with 500 people, or a DoD briefings for 20 people, something that indicates some planning experience):

Technical ability of team. This would include a general list of people's abilities * networking, hardware, etc and support the idea you can pull this off:

Physical resources (if any) that you will be bringing to help run CTF such as a disco ball, robots or enigma machines. This to help us plan to accomodate it with the hotel if you require extra power or special fire marshal approval for your Cray 1 cooling towers.:

What experience have your team members had in playing CTF in the past. This is not a requirement, but shows real-world knowledge of the game as it has been played in the past.:

Explain you vision for CTF
-Explain, in a general manner, your vision of your CTF.

- Explain how you hope the attendees will experience it. For example, they sign up on-line, get a secret package in the mail, start blindfolded with an unusual laptop? Are their certain crises points you will introduce during the game to confuse or add to the pressure?

-Provide three reasons your group should host CTF.

-How do players or teams qualify (if there are qualifications)?

-Is it multi player or single-player, or a combination?

-What innovations or new ideas are you bringing to CTF?

-How long will the contest take, will it be 24x7, 8 hour shifts, etc?

-What technical work is required to execute your plan. This includes setting up environments beforehand, pre-qualification work if any, writing a scoring system, etc.?

-Give an outline of the rules that will be presented to the participants:

-Why do you want to do this?

-What hardware resources do you request or need from DEFCON?

-Explain what you believe is the best way to guage a hacker's abilities, and how your vision of the contest could do this?

-Tell us anything else that you think may be important or that we might consider in choosing your group to host CTF.

Send 'em in!

If you are submitting multiple ideas please make each one a separate email so when printed and forwarded between judges there is less confusion.

Deadline is February 28th, 2009. Submissions go to ctf [at] defcon [d0t] org

A discussion area has been created on the DEFCON forums under the DEFCON 17 Events section to cover new ideas, ask for feedback, and get an idea of what is going on.

New announcements will be on the main DEFCON web site as well:

Feel free to join the discussion, ask people for feedback on your ideas, ask questions.. use all the resources at your disposal!

Thank you!

The Dark Tangent