Facebook encourages wannabe hackers by making Capture The Flag open source
When a medical student is learning how to do surgery, he or she can't walk up to somebody on the street and start cutting into them. Instead, they will initially practice on cadavers and computer simulators. The same can be said for hacking. If a person wants to learn how to discover or test vulnerabilities, hacking the Pentagon or University, for instance, is not a wise idea.
Luckily, like a medical surgeon with a cadaver, Facebook offers its Capture The Flag platform -- hacking challenges in a test environment. Today, it is making that gamified security training platform open source in an effort to encourage wannabe hackers and security enthusiasts.
"Due to the high cost and technical requirements of building and running CTF environments, few publicly available resources exist for schools, students, and non-profit organizations to use. Additionally, finding any security education resources at the middle and high school level is still a challenge. So, we built a free platform for everyone to use that takes care of the backend requirements of running a CTF, including the game map, team registration, and scoring", says Gulshan Singh, software engineer, Facebook.
Singh further says, "by open sourcing our platform, schools, student groups, and organizations across all skill levels can now host competitions, practice sessions, and conferences of their own to teach computer science and security skills. We're also releasing a small repository of challenges that can be used immediately upon request (to prevent cheating)".
While Facebook is often in the news for seemingly bad things, such as the latest controversy with its "trending topics", it is rather refreshing to see a very positive side of the company. Not only is this a boon for education, but the open source community too.
If you want to check out the source code, you can access it on GitHub here.
What do you think of Facebook's open source gesture? Tell me in the comments.