Registration is now closed for the 2018 Capture the Flag.


9:00 AM - 5:00 PM on March 24th

What is Capture the Flag?

Information Security is a rapidly growing industry that holds outstanding opportunities for talented individuals. However, young people rarely consider it as a possible career. To help bridge the gap, Cleveland-based management consulting firm SecureState and University of Pittsburgh's College in High School (CHS) have teamed-up to host a 5th annual interactive Capture-the-Flag (CTF) competition to introduce students to ethical hacking while showcasing their skills in a creative way.

If you have any questions about the event or registration, please email Courtney McIntyre at or Michael Benich at


Registration will be capped at the first 100 high school students entering.

High School Students

  • High school students in grades 9-12.
  • Teams will consist of 1 to 4 participants.
  • Each team must have at least one adult representative to attend the event with the team.
  • Each team member will also have to provide their own laptop.

Event Description

Participating teams will work to solve challenges from six different infosec topics:

  • Coding - use common programming techniques to accomplish tasks
  • Cryptography - a largely pen-and-paper category in which participants must decipher messages using popular techniques and algorithms
  • Forensics - recover data from network captures and imaged hardware to complete these challenges
  • Physical - lock picking and other physical security skills will be used to solve these challenges
  • Social Engineering - make use of open source intelligence gathering techniques and people skills to compromise a fictional company
  • Web Apps - execute attacks against a flawed web application. Challenges are derived from the OWASP Top Ten most critical web app vulnerabilities

The challenges will be presented to the participants in the form of a Jeopardy board with higher point challenges designed to require a higher level of skill. Though the Web Application category will require participants to ‘hack’ live, SecureState-controlled systems, most of the remaining challenges are designed in such a way that participants with minimal technical experience (and exceptional Google-Fu skills) will be able to solve them.

The winning team will be determined at the conclusion of the event based on their total scores. The scoreboard will be viewable to all participants throughout the event. However, teams will be allowed to purchase ‘hints’ using their accumulated points if they become stuck on any of the challenges. The number of purchases each team makes will not be made public until the end of the event and will affect the final scores used to determine the winner/runners-up.


The first place team will earn a scholarship package, valued at several-thousand dollars, to divide among each member to apply toward their continuing education at a university of their choosing.


The University of Pittsburgh
The University Club
123 University Pl
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

About College in High School

College in High School (CHS) is a 35-year-old collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and regional high schools. Each year over 3,000 qualified students take University of Pittsburgh courses through CHS—at a fraction of the normal tuition rate. The instructors are high school teachers who receive approval and professional development from University faculty. CHS students graduate from high school with a University of Pittsburgh transcript, highly-transferrable college credits, and hands-on experience with college-level course work. In short, CHS offers a safe introduction to college academics within the supportive environment of a familiar classroom.

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