'This is as close to a barroom fight as it gets': BSidesCharm capture the flag - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Apr. 27, 2016 10:24 am

‘This is as close to a barroom fight as it gets’: BSidesCharm capture the flag

Teams of cybersecurity pros battled for a real-life title belt. Here's why.
The winning team, left to right: DaShawn Hicks, Jon Nile, Harvey Zemaitis, Steve Felmy, Steve “Rain Man” Murdoch.

The winning team, left to right: DaShawn Hicks, Jon Nile, Harvey Zemaitis, Steve Felmy, Steve "Rain Man" Murdoch.

(Courtesy photo)

A game of capture the flag was running amid the keynotes and networking at BSidesCharm last weekend. But since the conference was focused on information security, hiding in the woods wasn’t necessary.

Devised by AccelerateBaltimore cohort member Point3 Security, the capture the flag environment unfolded on laptops at circular tables. Fueled by the standard hacker intake of caffeine and chips, the teams had the weekend to navigate the puzzle-based environment, and the organizers kept track of points throughout.

The title belt.

The title belt. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Participants described it as a place to test out new skills, and learn by doing without the risks of actually having a server shut down by a cyber attack. The competitors had to protect their vulnerabilities, and adapt to changing environments.

“It’s not something they’ve ever seen before,” said Point3 CEO Evan Dornbush. “This is as close to a barroom fight as it gets. Everyone has the same awful conditions, and who’s going to come out on top?”

If that wasn’t enough motivation, there was also a title belt.

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