Attending my first CTF - an adventure
I attend Iowa State, and one of the clubs here is the IASG (Information Assurance Student Group). I have no idea when you, comrade, are going to be reading this, but they hosted the sp00kyctf on Saturday. Or for all you future dwelling folks, on the 28th of October. I had seen an announcement on the club's discord and had forgotten about it until a day before the event when somebody messaged in the discord asking if anyone wanted to join a team. I said I was interested, signed up, and, as they say, the rest was history.
I have to admit, that I’m pretty new to cybersecurity. I’ve been a pretty big Linux nerd for a while, which kinda helped some parts, but I was going in as a fresh beginner. Even so, there were some challenges that I was able to complete. And it was a beginner-friendly CTF, which helped a lot.
So what was I able to do?
Get stuck on one challenge for 2 hours. That’s something that I actually was able to do pretty well! Also, I’m something of an internet sleuth, sometimes to a fault. If there can be information dug up about somebody or something online, then I’m the one to do it. So the OSINT challenges were by far my favorite. And one of them even made use of Shodan. It almost makes me buying it a couple of months ago worth it. Although I was able to get it on a sale, so that helps.
With all that being said, though, there was also a lot that I wasn’t able to do, or at least didn’t know how. But here’s the thing, I’m not really mad that I wasn’t able to do a lot. I tried, and to me that’s the most important thing. And I also learned a lot about what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. It was a learning experience. Sure, I may have wanted to cry in the moment after spending hours trying to get something to work with no luck, but in hindsight I’m really glad to have had that experience. The experience to say I tried. The experience to look and say that I need to work on that. Which in my case is pretty much everything, but hey, at least now I know.
I’m really looking forward to the future, and competing in future CTFs. And hey, our team got third place. And I got quite a few points. And I’d say that’s pretty damn good for a first time (yes, most of that was OSINT). And they had free pizza, it was a win-win.