Humble Beginnings

CTF Factory is a Delaware non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation

PO Box 12809, Wilmington, DE 19850

It began with a small group of friends and security practitioners who had a desire to build a unique Capture the Flag (CTF) computer security game for the yearly Bsides Las Vegas conference.  Loosely based on the national Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) events, it was first run in November of 2012 at BSides Delaware, providing a learning experience for the average security practitioner (Joe) against Pro hackers. Dubbed Pros vs. Joes (PvJ), the game was next executed in August of 2013 at the 3rd annual BSides Las Vegas (BSidesLV) conference.

Since those humble beginnings, Pros vs. Joes has grown to include more players, teams, and capabilities for a very unique training experience.  Hosted from the beginning and still today by our friends at Wilmington University on their CCDC practice systems, it continues to grow beyond the original vision. 

During the game in 2017, there were several companies that showed up and said they would like to donate to the Pros vs. Joes cause.  Hard to do when there’s no legal entity to give the money to, so the idea (actually, not very original as BSidesLV is a non-profit) to put together a group to form a non-profit was born. 

In July, 2018 CTF Factory was incorporated in Delaware and the first ever board meeting was held at the bar in the Tuscany Hotel, just downstairs from where BSidesLV and PvJ were being held.  We toasted to our new adventure and laid out some simple objectives: File all the IRS and Delaware paper work and get legit, improve the code to something a bit more resilient, add automation so we can restore quickly when necessary, and build a second location for servers, switches, and such.  And most importantly, provide a vehicle to provide funding so we can keep the infrastructure fresh and robust enough to ensure that we all get to show up in Vegas every year for  Pros vs. Joes and the after party called DEFCON!   

Humble beginnings in our 2nd location in Richmond, VA, thanks to generous donations from Red Lion.

Incorporation, IRS, and other government filings are, well, hard, not free, and time consuming.  But we’re on our way.  We got a few kind donations at the beginning of 2019 and we have the beginnings of a second hosting site.  And in April, we will host our first event at a security conference that will bring some much needed cash to our coffers to pay for some of this… fun. 

BsidesLV will always be our spiritual home – our best event and our venue to try adding new wargaming challenges to the learning experience.  Over the years we have supported additional BSides conferences in DC, Salt Lake City, and Indianapolis, along with a “test and tune” abuse of Cyber Interns at MITRE in DC as a unit test just before we all land at BSidesLV.

Into the future, we want to support more events and continue to develop the game dynamics for a reusable and rapidly revertible gaming platform.  Because of the uniqueness of the player learning experience, CTF Factory is looking to license the platform for use by a broader set of facilitation environments.  Maybe supporting other BSides locations, universities, security conferences, and maybe value added resellers and companies for their own internal training, while still keeping our tribe a fairly small group of friends.

The Security community is in desperate need of skilled staff that understand the unique needs of our profession.  We want this platform to help recruit and train staff with the skills to reduce the risk of intrusions and improve incident response.

Of course, as a non-profit public charity, our success depends upon the generosity of the community we support. If you would like to help support us in our mission, we would invite you to please donate and help us make the world a better, safer place.

Close Bitnami banner