Players/teams participate in a type of computer security game called a Capture-the-Flag (CTF). In CTF games, players/teams race to answer security-related challenges, often searching for digital “flags" hidden on servers, in encrypted text, or in applications. Challenges within the CTF are open-ended and require expertise and skills in a wide range of security-related topics. When a player/teams submits a flag, they receive points for solving the challenge. The player/team with the highest cumulative score at the end of the game wins.
Players/teams are scored on their ability to successfully complete the challenges and obtain the flags therein. Most challenges in the Spring Season contain more than one flag. To accumulate points, players/teams receive a pre-assigned point value for successfully submitting a flag. The point value for some flags is determined by the NCL difficulty rating system. The total score for a player/team is the sum of points for all successfully submitted flags.
While game challenges are available to all players/teams, there are increasingly difficult challenges included to test players/teams with more advanced skills.