Facebook’s Capture the Flag (CTF) is now available to download for free on GitHub.

If you’ve never heard of it before, CTF is a computer security game/competition aimed at to teaching people about cyber security and hacking.

The move to make the software open source comes in response to the high costs associated with the resources need to run a competition such as this. The result of this is that CTF competitions are not held as frequently as they could be if the software was free and easier to run.

Software engineer at Facebook, Gulshan Singh made the announcement via a blog post, “… 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.”

What makes this tool even more valuable is that its in a closed environment so participants aren’t attacking real websites but they are learning real skills that can be used in the real world.

Singh remarks in the blog post that CTF competitions helped him join the team working Facebook’s free intelligence sharing community which also develops security and threat analyses tool.

“I strongly believe this opportunity was a direct result of the experience I gained competing in CTFs,” Singh said.

Once installed there are a few challenges Facebook has included in the files which relate to the topics of; Reverse engineering, forensics, web application security, cryptography and binary exploitation. Users are also able to build custom challenges if they wish.

The point of all of this is of course education. Instances of cyber crime continue to rise, and a tool which schools, universities and even you at home can use to teach and learn computer science and more about cyber security is extremely valuable.

As Singh suggests, learning how to be an attacker is as valuable as learning to fight them, saying, “It’s a lot of fun to learn this offensive side of security, but at the same time learning about these flaws makes you a better defender as well.”

[Source – Facebook Blog]