What is a CTF?

Capture the Flag competitions, or CTF's, are computer security competitions where various teams compete to find and retrieve special text strings, called “flags”, which are hidden within pages, apps, and files. You'll need to hack web pages, crack codes, and break programs to get those flags.

Where is it happening?

Right here! The CTF and all it's challenges are fully online.
You can do any challenge you want at any time of the day during the event.

What is the format of the problems?

We will have a variety of problems related to web-based exploits, reverse engineering, binary exploits, cryptography, and more.

Who can play?

All UBC students and UBC-affiliates can play. Unfortunately, SaplingCTF is closed to those within the UBC community. If you're not a UBC student, please be patient and wait for the international version of MapleCTF occurring later this year!

Are there prizes?

Yes! There are $1000 worth of prizes available! $600 worth of prizes for the top performing teams, and 5x$50 worth of prizes that anyone can win just by participating. Finally there are also $150 of prizes for writeups after the CTF ends.

Do I need to know what I'm doing?

Absolutely not. This CTF is beginner friendly, and we'll provide help all along the way.
Don't know cryptography? We have guides to help you get started!
Don't know where to start with web exploits? We'll give you a series of challenges which ramp up after one another so you can learn new things as you go!
Want to get some hints? Ask in our Discord!

What can I do to practise?

Check out the UBC CTF's getting started page for some resources! In brief, PicoCTF is a fantastic primer to get you set up should you want to know how CTFs are like before this one.

What is the format of the flags?

The flags will follow the regex maple{[a-zA-Z0-9_!\\-\\?]+}. They'll typically be in some sort of l33tspeak, so something like maple{9rapH1c_D3519N_15_my_PAZz10n}

How exactly do teams/superteams work for this competition?

In the interest of encouraging collaboration without having to organize a large team, we structured this competition in a team + superteam format. The way it works is that you have a team of up to 4 members that you collaborate closely with, you can freely share answers, support, code, flags, anything. The scoreboard will then keep track of these team scores.

Alongside this there is also your superteam, either Red or Blue. Your superteam is the larger group that you can ask for advice from and generally support each other through. You are not allowed to share code and flags with your superteam members! There will also be a scoreboard keeping track of which superteam has the most cumulative points.

TLDR: In CPSC course terms, team = your group members for the assignment, superteam = the course discord that you can complain/joke around/give advice in

Do I have to play on a team?

When you register, you must register a team to participate. However this team could have anywhere from 1-4 members, so you can just play solo if you wish. You'll have access to the channels for the superteam that you choose, but there's no requirement to participate there.

TLDR: No, you can play alone, just register a team and don't give anyone else the team username/password