Facebook’s Capture the Flag (CTF) platform is now going open source in a move to help encourage both students and developers to increase their knowledge about cybersecurity.
The competition is designed to have participants create hacks, as well as protect against them happening in the real world, but having access to Facebook’s own CTF platform will allow anyone to host a similar cybersecurity challenge or build upon what the social network has already learned, Engadget reported on Wednesday (May 11).
Facebook has reportedly run CTF competitions for years and has used its platform at global events, but this will be the first time it's opened its own in-house platform to the public with a release on GitHub.
Gulshan Singh, a software engineer on Facebook’s threat infrastructure team, told VentureBeat about his own experience competing in CTFs at the University of Michigan and how it helped him to gain employment in the cybersecurity industry.
“I learned about RSA encryption in my computer science courses, but CTFs taught me how to break it when it wasn’t properly implemented, which happens all the time in the real world. It’s a lot of fun to learn this offensive side of security, but at the same time, learning about these flaws makes you a better defender as well,” he explained to VentureBeat.
“Although news reports about security bugs are now commonplace, it’s not always obvious how people find these flaws and how you can develop the skills needed to find and protect against malicious exploits,” Singh added, noting that CTFs are a safe and legal way to experience hacking challenges.
Facebook’s initiative not only aims to help educate those who are interested in closing security holes and addressing vulnerabilities but may also help to, one day, solve for the looming shortage of cybersecurity professionals expected to hit the industry in coming years.