Play CTF! A Great Way to Learn Hacking – Fsec 2017


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Abstract:
For many of us hacking means creativity – if you have ever witnessed a complex heap memory corruption exploit, you realise how close this is to art. But when we look at how IT security is taught, we often see uncreative memorisation of dangerous functions or generally a checklist approach. Nobody can understand or know everything in IT Security and isolation of topics only leads to interesting attack ideas being lost at the topic boundaries. Like in math we rather like to develop an intuition and understanding of underlying concepts that help us to adapt to any system we want to hack. Especially because the IT world is changing extremely fast and staying up-to-date is necessary.
I believe, for anybody who is interested in IT security, as well as developers who should write secure code, it’s important to train hacking creatively.

CTF (Capture The Flag) challenges are kind of like math puzzles for hackers – sometimes they are about exploiting basic issues and sometimes they are very esoteric. But they always require creative thinking. Security trainings, academic education and books will get you far enough to deliver good work, but I believe playing CTFs can make the difference between good or excellent work.

With this talk I want to motivate you to play CTFs and showcase various example challenge solutions, to show you stuff you hopefully haven’t seen before and get you inspired to find more interesting vulnerabilities.

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