After being friends since the beginning of Hacktoria, Joaquin Iglesias (aka Joey on Discord) and me, Frank. Have decided to go and build a CTF platform together. There might be a third person joining us soon, more on that in the next dev blog. We’re both very excited about working together, we’ve always helped each other and supported our projects. So combining our efforts and energy drink consumption, we should be able to make something pretty cool.
Hacktoria has long been a free resource, it started off as a hobby project for me to build fun CTF challenges, and it will be going forward. However, there comes a time when you realize it’s okay to get paid for your work. We first contemplated keeping Hacktoria as the free version and making a new CTF platform. The concept for this was already made as a landing page, called Hack Rage.
The idea was to preserve the spirit of Hacktoria by having a separate paid platform. This turned out to be far too much work though. So we decided to focus all our energy on making Hacktoria the most awesome thing we can.
There will be a mix of free and paid content. Every quarter we’ll have a free CTF event, just like promised at the re-launch of Hacktoria. On the website itself, there will be a store section where you can purchase CTF challenges. These will be a bit like the old “contracts”, but with a lot more content and substance.
Creating the store
We’re considering a few options, either a portal for people to login and see all their CTF’s as downloads. The other option is gated content, which becomes available if you’re a subscriber. Lastly we have the option to offer the CTF’s as downloads, sent to your email after a Stripe payment. Currently that last option has our preference, it allows us to centrally manage the CTF’s and doesn’t require us to store a bunch of customer data.
Not everyone on this planet has the same budget. Some people might live in lower wage countries, others are going through hardship or might be instant-noodle eating students. Hacktoria has always been a place where everyone is able to learn, regardless of their wealth levels. That’s why we’ll have the option to receive paid content for free, in exchange for creating an article, walk-through or other content.
CTF Team submissions
For the upcoming quarterly CTF event, we’re receiving more questions about the possibility of handling team submissions. As we enjoy simple solutions to complicated problems, we’ll just have a separate field where you can enter your team name. There might be some reservations here from players about teams having an advantage. Historically though, every CTF event Hacktoria organized saw individual players finish before teams. It would also be fairly impossible to see if someone is really playing alone, unless we recruit a whole bunch of judges who keep an eye on teams in various Discord servers.
The future of Hacktoria
With the addition of paid CTF content, we’re stepping into the arena of the paid platforms. We are not looking to compete with anyone, Hacktoria has it’s own style of challenges and our way of thinking. We’re aiming to preserve that and keep doing our unique and weird CTF challenges. Filled with aliens, special agents and aimed at having fun. This places us in our own category and we believe this will allow everyone in this space to co-exist. As said earlier, free CTF’s are never going away and there will be the option to write content in exchange for the paid CTF’s.
Thank you to all of our players and community members who are in on this roller-coaster of a ride. Please let us know in the comments if you have questions or suggestions, jump on Discord and let us know directly. If this dev-blog feels helpful, we’ll keep doing them.