The National Cyber League (NCL) is a biannual cybersecurity competition for high school and college students. The competition consists of a series of challenges that allows students to demonstrate their ability to identify hackers from forensic data, break into vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks, and more. Students compete in the NCL to build their skills, obtain scouting reports of their performance for hiring purposes, and to represent their school. 

What is NCL? 


The NCL is a defensive and offensive puzzle-based, capture-the-flag style cybersecurity competition. Its virtual training ground helps high school and college students prepare and test themselves against cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce. All participants play the games simultaneously during Preseason, Individual Game and Team Game.


NCL allows players of all levels to enter. Between easy, medium and hard challenges, students have multiple opportunities to really shine in areas as they excel.


The NCL challenges are based on the CompTIA Security+™ and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)™ performance-based exam objectives and include the following content: Open Source Intelligence, Scanning, Enumeration and Exploitation, Password Cracking, Traffic Analysis, Log Analysis, Wireless Security, Cryptography, and Web Application Security.


High School students benefit from the NCL by getting an early jump-start in the pursuit of cybersecurity skills.  Experience has shown that high school students achieve great satisfaction in competing against students at the collegiate level as they prepare either for further education or the workplace.


Collegiate students benefit because the NCL competition is closer to workplace experience over that of formal education by stressing application over theory.  The NCL also helps students train for other collegiate level competitions such as the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition and prepares them for the workplace. 

Spring Season has three parts: All included in the $35 registration fee




Individual competition (no flag sharing) that allows the NCL to evaluate participants to determine their current skill level. After the preseason, players are placed into one of three brackets: Gold, Silver and Bronze. This allows students to compete in the Individual Game with other similarly skilled participants.


Individual Game


Another individual competition (no flag sharing) that pits players against each other in their assigned brackets. This is where player’s scores matter. Participants will be ranked overall and within their bracket.


Team Game


Where Individual Game players form teams with 2 to 7 members to compete (no flag sharing with other teams). Various levels of experience and expertise are brought to the table in this situation. Many consider the Team Game the highlight of their NCL experience. Each team’s bracket is determined by the average Individual Game score of the team’s members.

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