Facebook wants to teach you how to hack

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Facebook’s Capture the Flag program can be used to teach basic security skills.

Facebook wants to teach the next generation security skills and hopes the release of the Capture the Flag (CTF) platform to the open-source community will be a valuable contribution.

Gulshan Singh, a software engineer on Facebook’s threat infrastructure team said in an announcement on Wednesday the social media giant hopes to make “security education easier and more accessible,” especially for students.

As a result, the company has decided to release the CTF platform as a “safe and legal” way to teach kids how to learn and refine skills related to reverse-engineering, forensics, web application security, cryptography, and binary exploitation without getting into trouble with the law.

It is rare for schools to build and run their own CTF environments, and there are few currently available on the market. Beyond web domains configured for network professionals to test out their skills, such as Hack this site.org, security education resources geared towards students can be a challenge.

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As a result, Facebook decided to launch the CTF with the backend requirements already in place, including the game map, team registration and scoring. The code can also be used by developers to create their own challenges.

“By open sourcing our platform, schools, student groups, and organizations across all skill levels can now host competitions, practice sessions, and conferences of their own to teach computer science and security skills,” Facebook says. “We’re also releasing a small repository of challenges that can be used immediately upon request (to prevent cheating).”

Capture the Flag is now available on code repository GitHub for schools, educators and those interested in cybersecurity. CTF also takes advantage of other open–source projects provided by the company, including HHVM and Flow.

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