So, you've heard about Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions and you're eager to dive in, but you're not quite sure where to start. Don't worry, we've got you covered! Whether you're a seasoned hacker or a complete beginner, there's something for everyone in the world of CTFs. In this guide, we'll walk you through the basics and provide you with a curated list of resources to kickstart your CTF journey.
First things first, what exactly is a CTF? In the context of cybersecurity, a CTF is a competition where participants solve a variety of challenges ranging from cryptography and reverse engineering to web exploitation and binary exploitation. The goal is to "capture the flag," usually in the form of a secret string or piece of data, by exploiting vulnerabilities or solving puzzles within the provided challenges.
Now that you have a general idea of what CTFs are all about, let's talk about how you can get started. One of the best ways to prepare for CTF competitions is to practice on online platforms that offer a wide range of challenges. Here are some websites that you can explore:
PicoCTF: A beginner-friendly platform with challenges covering various categories such as cryptography, reverse engineering, and web exploitation.
CTFlearn: Another excellent platform with a vast collection of practice problems categorized by difficulty.
ImaginaryCTF: Offers challenges for all skill levels, with an emphasis on learning and community engagement.
RingZer0CTF: A platform with challenges ranging from easy to hard, covering a wide range of topics.
247CTF: Provides a variety of challenges to help you improve your skills across different categories.
Once you've gained some confidence with basic challenges, you can explore more specialized topics such as website security and binary exploitation. Here are some websites that focus on specific areas:
Pwnable.xyz: A platform dedicated to binary exploitation challenges, perfect for those interested in learning about low-level vulnerabilities and exploit development.
In addition to these CTF-specific resources, there are also websites that can help you build foundational skills that are essential for tackling CTF challenges:
ASMTutor: A website that teaches assembly code, which is often used in reverse engineering challenges.
TryHackMe: Offers basic tutorials and practice problems to help you understand fundamental concepts in cybersecurity.
HackTheBox: Unlike traditional CTF platforms, Hack The Box offers a more immersive experience by providing access to a virtual lab environment where users can practice their hacking techniques in a safe and controlled setting.
Also I have compiled a list of Red Team/Blue Team CTF Platforms to test your skills on. You can check it in here.
Finally, if you're ready to test your skills in real CTF competitions, you can find upcoming, ongoing, and archived events on platforms like CTFTime. These competitions provide a great opportunity to challenge yourself, collaborate with others, and showcase your expertise in cybersecurity.
With these resources at your disposal, you're well-equipped to embark on your CTF journey. Remember, success in CTFs comes with practice, perseverance, and a willingness to learn. So, roll up your sleeves, sharpen your skills, and get ready to capture the flag! Happy hacking!