Important Announcement: Graded MiniCTF starting mid of January 2020

Written on 18.12.2019 15:34 by Giancarlo Pellegrino

Dear students,

Please read this announcement very carefully, especially if you did not attend the lecture today. 

As announced today during the lecture, on 15/01//2020, it will take place the graded MiniCTF competition. This message is for all students, especially those that were not attending the lecture. 

Your first deadline is on 15/01/2020. Please read below and stay tuned for more details!


I - What is the MiniCTF competition?

The idea of the MiniCTF competition is to form groups of about four students. Each group will create one MiniCTF-style challenge. Then, all challenges will be made available for all students in a CTF competition.


II - How will it be graded?

Grading is per group:

  • 50%: Quality of the challenge, documentation, and implementation (see point VI)
  • 50%: Number of solved challenges (at least 5)


III - What are these milestones, and what are the deadlines?

  1. The first milestone is creating groups of students. When: 15/01/2020 (firm deadline)
    • Find your group mates and finalize your group by 15/01 (not “after” but “by”).
  2. The second milestone is the submission of the idea for the MiniCTF challenge. When: TBA, approx one weak after Milestone 1
    • The idea is a document describing the challenge, the expected solution, the backstory, pseudo-code, and more. We will share the exact specs of such a document.
    • The goal of this milestone is to give us (the lectures and TAs) to check the quality and fairness of the challenges
  3. The third milestone is the implementation and submission of the challenge. When: TBA, approx one weak after Milestone 2​
    • ​You will need to submit the flags too
    • Expect to have a CTF website to hour your challenges
  4. The actual CTF competition with all challenges begin. When: TBA, approx one weak after Milestone 3


​IV - Do you have any guidelines/tips for creating a good quality challenge?

More details later, but, for now, you will need to keep in mind that a good challenge has four main ingredients:

  1. Fun: solving challenges must be fun
    • Elements increasing the fun factor are a backstory and originality​
  2. Technical: challenges are “challenging” not obvious. Students need to learn something
    • Relating to (or build on) the topics of this lecture 
  3. Fair: A good challenge always has a solution.
    • Harder solutions can be fixed with hints (hints can also be original, fun, related to the backstory)
  4. Novelty: Don’t just copy and paste a challenge from another CTFs or the exercises
    • Plagiarism will be checked for, detected, and not tolerated.



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