A Capture The Flag, or CTF, is a competitive puzzle usually based on technology skills. Some CTFs are very sophisticated, requiring in-depth knowledge of a number of different skill sets in the computer networking and vulnerability analysis space. Some are more like puzzles that require more basic technology knowledge but still take plenty of brain grease.
The CodeMash CTF is the latter.
A participant of the CodeMash CTF does not have to have in-depth security knowledge, or skills with security tools, or complex programming skills, like many other CTFs. The CodeMash CTF is playable by anyone with normal computer skills, and a willingness to Bing the Googles. There are 15 puzzles, worth a variety of points, and at a variety of difficulty. One puzzle will open every day between December 27th and January 8th at 6PM EST. Upon solving a puzzle, the player will receive a flag, (thus the name of the game) and can turn it in for points. There is an algorithm that takes into account how quickly the puzzle is solved, and a leaderboard will be populated over time. After the last puzzle is solved, three winners will be selected, and prizes will be awarded at the closing ceremonies.
However, winning and losing isn't important here. Yes, the winners will walk away with some money. That's not what's cool, though. What's cool is learning something new, getting your brain working on a different angle, and competing with your friends at something totally new. That's what’s cool.
Not sure about getting started? Try the Hacker Tool Challenge! It's a one-puzzle CTF that will stress your knowledge of how the web works just a little bit, and if you bring Bill your password at the OWASP booth, you'll get a CodeMash CTF branded multitool! Everyone's a winner! (Well, you have to solve the challenge, but then you'll be a winner.)
Thank you to Hacking Lab for managing the CTF and writing most of the challenges. They have been a part of the CodeMash CTF for three years, and have done an awesome job!