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CTF Registration Guidelines & Competition Rules

CSAW CTF Overview

CSAW CTF is an entry-level, jeopardy style CTF, designed for students who preparing to study or work in cybersecurity. Challenges are meant to exhibit fundamental concepts and help students develop their skills. If you have never played a CTF before, check out “Preparation Resources & Tools” below.

Our competition occurs over two rounds: an online Qualifying Round in September and a Final in-person Round in November.

Qualification Round Dates & Times

CSAW’18 CTF will run 14 -16 September 2018

Start Time: 20:00 UTC Time, 14 September
End Time: 20:00 UTC Time, 16 September

Qualification Round Platform

The qualification round of CTF is played on an online CTFd platform: ctf.csaw.io. Only registered teams will be given access at the “Start Time.” We expect approximately 30 challenges with points ranging from 100 - 500. The competition will run for 48 hours.

Qualification Round Eligibility

Everyone is welcome to play in the Qualification Round of Capture the Flag. Our game is open to players from around the world.

CSAW CTF has different registration requirements based on whether a team wishes to qualify for Finals. Please carefully review this entire document before registering.

Rules for Qualifying Round

  • Registration is required through the CTF platform: ctf.csaw.io. Registration will remain open through the Qualification Round.
  • Players can compete individually or on a team.
  • All players, regardless of bracket or intention to qualify for Finals, must compete under only 1 team name; playing for multiple teams, including sub teams or alias teams, is not permitted.
  • There is no limit to the number of players on a team during the Qualifying Round. However, should a team qualify for Finals, only 4 members of a team will be allowed to play during Finals. These 4 members must register in advance on the CTF platform prior to the Qualification Round.
  • Furthermore, teams should work independently; sharing answers privately or publicly, or collaborating with another team to secure multiple spots at Finals constitutes cheating.
  • Attacking the CTF infrastructure ruins the fun for everyone. Unless a challenge calls for such an attack, it is strictly forbidden to perform any kind of Denial of Service Attack (DoS/DDoS) against the servers or the competition's infrastructure.
  • Brute forcing of flags is not tolerated or recommended.
  • Automatic vulnerability scanners such as SQLmap are prohibited.
  • Flags should be submitted as they are found rather than hoarding flags and submitting them all at once. Teams that submit flags in quick succession may be asked to provide write-ups.

Recommendations for Qualifying Round

  • Teams will need regular access to a computer and an Internet connection.
  • Teams should have unfiltered Internet access and the ability to install software.
  • Teams should connect to the CSAW CTF IRC (#osirislab on irc.freenode.net) and keep this open during the competition to be alerted of any updates.
  • Teams/players may play as much or as little as they want through the Qualification Round. We recommend dedicating as much time as you have to working through the challenges while still maintaining healthy habits (ie, getting some sleep!).

Qualifying for Finals

Teams earns points by solving challenges. We anticipate ~30 challenges, each worth 100 - 500 points. The top 10 eligible teams with the most points per international region will be invited to CSAW Finals. Eligibility varies by region as defined in the next section.

Qualifying round points are reported to CTFTime. 

Final Round Eligibility

Participation in CSAW CTF Finals is contingent upon competitors' ability to enter the given country where CSAW is being hosted. Eligibility requirements for Finals vary by region, defined below.

Europe - hosted by Grenoble INP - Esisar (Valence, France)
  • Teams may have up to 4 players total during Finals, all of whom must be confirmed by September 28, 2018.
  • All team members must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and attend the same university within the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, or Armenia.
  • Only one team from any given university may qualify for Finals. If multiple teams from the same university qualify, only the highest ranked team will be invited to compete at CSAW Europe Finals.
  • Additionally, finalists teams from the same country should not exceed 40% of the total teams accepted to Finals.
  • Teams that qualify for Finals will be asked to verify their enrollment status before being offered a Travel Award.*
India - hosted by Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (Kanpur, India)
  • Teams may have up to 4 players total during Finals, all of whom must be confirmed by September 28, 2018.
  • All team members must be students enrolled in an undergraduate (UG) or post-graduate (PG) program and attend the same university in India. Professional teams are no longer eligible to qualify for Finals, but they are welcome to play in the Qualification Round. 
  • Up to two (2) Student Teams from any given university in India may qualify for Finals. If multiple teams from the same university qualify, only the two highest ranked teams will be invited to compete at CSAW India Finals.
  • Student Teams that qualify for Finals will be asked to verify their enrollment status before being offered a Travel Award.*
Israel - hosted by Haifa University and IBM Research Lab (Haifa, Israel)
  • Teams may have up to a total of four (4) players during Finals, all of whom must be confirmed by September 28, 2018.
  • Teams can be comprised of either students or persons enrolled in regular national/military service. For student teams, members must be enrolled in an accredited undergraduate (UG) program, post-graduate (PG) program, or high school and all team members must attend the same school located in Israel.
  • Up to two (2) student teams from any given university or high school in Israel may qualify for Finals. If multiple teams from the same institution qualify, only the two highest ranked teams will be invited to compete at CSAW Israel Finals.
  • Up to five (5) teams from regular national/military service in Israel may qualify to Finals
  • Teams that qualify for Finals will be asked to verify their student enrollment or national service status before being offered an invitation to Finals.
  • Teams that are invited to Finals are responsible for travel and lodging costs.* 
MENA - hosted by the Higher School of Communication of Tunis (SUP'COM, Ariana, Tunisia)
  • Teams may have up to 4 players total during Finals, all of whom must be confirmed by September 28, 2018.
  • All team members must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and attend the same university within the following countries: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Georgia, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
  • Only one team from any given university may qualify for Finals. If multiple teams from the same university qualify, only the highest ranked team will be invited to compete at CSAW MENA Finals.
  • Teams that qualify for Finals will be asked to verify their enrollment status before being offered a Travel Award.*
México - hosted by University Iberoamericana Mexico City (IBERO) 
  • Teams may have up to 4 players total during Finals, all of whom must be confirmed by September 28, 2018.
  • All team members must be enrolled in an undergraduate (UG) or post-graduate (PG) program and attend the same campus and university in Mexico.
  • Up to two (2) Student Teams from any given university in Mexico may qualify for Finals. If multiple teams from the same university qualify, only the two highest ranked teams will be invited to compete at CSAW Mexico Finals.
  • Teams that qualify for Finals will be asked to verify their student enrollment before being offered an invitation to Finals.
  • Teams that are invited to Finals are responsible for travel and lodging costs.*
US-Canada - hosted by NYU Tandon School of Engineering (Brooklyn, NY, USA)
  • Only undergraduate level students enrolled in an accredited university or college in the United States or Canada are eligible to qualify for Finals.
  • Stacked teams (those with both graduate and undergraduate level students), Graduate teams, Professional/Other teams are not eligible to qualify for Finals.
  • Teams may have up to 4 players total during Finals, all of whom must be confirmed by September 28, 2018.
  • Mixed teams -- or teams with students from different universities/colleges -- are permitted. A mixed team can have a maximum of 2 students from the same university/college, with up to 4 teammates total. For example:
    • 2 students from University A can team up with 2 students from University B.
    • Or, 2 students from University A can team up with 1 student from University B and 1 student from University C.
    • Or, a mixed team could comprise 4 students all from different universities/colleges
    • Questions about mixed teams? Please email csawctf@osiris.cyber.nyu.edu
  • A maximum of 5 students from the same university (and across multiple teams) are eligible to qualify for Finals.
  • Teams that qualify for Finals will be asked to verify their enrollment status before being offered a Travel Award.*

Finalist Notification

Finalists will be notified of their status between September 18 and September 28. Teams will receive notification directly from regional organizers via the team email that is registered on ctf.csaw.io.

Travel Award*

Travel Awards vary by region. Typically, transportation and lodging (hotel or residence hall), and meals are provided, free of cost to the Finalists, or reimbursed following CSAW Finals. Teams will be provided details when they are invited to finals.

CSAW Final Dates & Locations

November 8 — 11, 2018

Conference agendas and competition times vary by location. See regional webpages for details.

CSAW'18 Finals will be hosted at six global academic centers. The location where finalists compete is based on the finalists’ university affiliation, as follows:

  • CSAW Europe at Grenoble INP-Esisar (Valence, France), hosting finalists from universities located in Armenia, the European Union, Norway, and Switzerland.
  • CSAW India at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (Kanpur, India), hosting finalists from universities and organizations located in India.
  • CSAW Israel co-hosted by Haifa University and the IBM Research Lab, hosting finalists from universities and national service teams that are located in Israel.
  • CSAW MENA at the Higher School of Communications of Tunis (Sup’Com, Ariana, Tunisia), hosting finalists from universities located in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Georgia, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
  • CSAW México at University Iberoamericana Mexico City (Mexico City, Mexico), hosting finalists from universities located in Mexico. 
  • CSAW US-Canada at NYU Tandon School of Engineering (Brooklyn, New York, USA), hosting finalists from universities located in the United States and Canada.

Finals Format

Finals follows a similar format to the Qualification Round. The Final Round of CTF is played on an online CTFd platform: ctf.csaw.io. The scoreboard will be public through most of the competition, but will be taken offline nearing the end of the competition. The competition lasts 36 hours. We expect approximately 25 challenges, with points ranging from 100 - 500. A physical challenge may also be part of the 2018 game.

Rules for Final Round

  • Players must be present to compete in-person at their designated CSAW region
  • Finalist teams should work independently. Receiving assistance from non-team members, sharing answers privately or publicly, or collaborating with off-site friends/colleagues (for example, getting help from anyone other than your Finalist team members) constitutes cheating.
  • Following CSAW'18, finalists may not post challenge write-ups and solutions until Tuesday 13 November 2018. 
  • Attacking the infrastructure will result in disqualification and a team-wide CSAW ban
  • Attempting to brute force flags or guess answers on the submission platform is prohibited
  • Use of automated vulnerability scanners, such as SQLMap are not allowed

Prizes

A 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winning team is identified for each region based on total points scored. Prizes vary by region. Please check the regional webpages for details.

Mailing List

CTF registrants will be automatically added to the CSAW mailing list. This list is used to provide occasional updates on CSAW and to promote cybersecurity related events being organized by CSAW regional partner schools. CSAW will not rent, sell, or share emails with non-partner schools or other entities or organizations.

Registrants can opt-out of the mailing list at anytime.

Preparation Resources & Tools

CSAW 365 365.csaw.io
An archive of past CSAW CTF challenges. 


CTF101 ctf101.org
A guidebook on how to be successful at CTFs. 

A calendar of CTF games can be found here: CTFTime

Contacts

Please direct your inquiries as follows:

General Inquiries:  csawctf@osiris.cyber.nyu.edu

CSAW Europe > csaw-europe-ctf@esisar.grenoble-inp.fr
CSAW India > skmtr@cse.iitk.ac.in
CSAW Israel >  csawisrael2018@gmail.com
CSAW MENA > csaw.mena@gmail.com
CSAW México >   felipe.trujillo@ibero.mx
CSAW US-Canada > csawctf@osiris.cyber.nyu.edu

Register Now!

Register to participate in the CTF competition.