I don’t know if you have participated in past Capture The Flag security contests organized by @stripe:

  • https://stripe.com/blog/capture-the-flag
  • https://stripe.com/blog/capture-the-flag-20

Their first two challenges were practically hacking contests. But you didn’t need to be a security expert or penetration tester: a good programmer could pass the levels, with a bit of learning along the way. These contests were absolutely fantastic, exciting experience for me.

They are organizing a new contest, Capture The Flag 3, starting on Wednesday: https://stripe.com/blog/ctf3-coming-soon

This time they will focus more on distributed systems engineering, fault-tolerance and performance. I don’t know how exactly, but we’ll find out soon enough. The contest will start on Wednesday, at 11am San Francisco, 7pm London, 6am Melbourne. https://stripe-ctf.com/countdown

If it’s anything like the first two contests, it’s going to be an exciting and extremely valuable experience for programmers of all levels. You should be able to get through at least half of the levels, and I guarantee that you will emerge enlightened, wiser, and become a safer, better coder in the future.

So dust off your black hats, and clear your evening schedules for the rest of the week!

PS: as preparation, maybe, just maybe, it might help to redo the first contest as an exercise, using this live CD: http://janosgyerik.github.com/capture-the-flag/

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