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Stripe CTF3: Distributed Systems

Greg Brockman on January 22, 2014

We’re proud to launch Capture the Flag 3: Distributed Systems. Without further ado, you can now jump in and start playing. If you complete all the levels, we'll send you a special-edition Stripe CTF3 T-shirt.

For those seeking further ado: we’ve found that the best way to teach people to build good systems is by giving them hands-on experience with problems that even expert developers may only occasionally get the chance to solve. We’ve run two previous Capture the Flags, both of which were designed to be an interesting way to get hands-on experience with crafting vulnerabilities.

Problems that follow this pattern—interesting, educational, rarely encountered—occur in many places outside security though, and we've made Capture the Flag 3 focus on distributed systems. There are five levels, each one focused on a different problem in the field. In all cases, the problem is one you’ve likely read about many times but never had a chance to try out in practice.

If you’d like to see how others are doing, we have leaderboards (for those who’ve opted in). You can also create a leaderboard for your group or company if you’d like to compete against your friends. We have CTF community chat on IRC at irc:// If you'd rather use Twitter than IRC, #stripectf is the hashtag for the event.

Above all, we want you to have fun and hopefully learn something in the process. If you get lost, we’ve provided beginners’ guides for each level which should point you in the right direction.

CTF3 will run for a week (so until 11am Pacific on January 29th). Happy hacking!