Modern field guide to security and privacy

Watch: The Passcode Cup capture the flag competition

Passcode is hosting our inaugural cybersecurity-based capture-the-flag competition, in Washington, D.C. Watch the first and last hours live here on Friday, October 21 at 12:00 and 4:15 Eastern time.

What's this all about?

The Passcode Cup is a free, team based capture-the-flag competition with challenges based on reverse-engineering, forensics, web security, cryptography, binary exploitation, and simulated industrial control systems. 

It is organized by Passcode, sponsored by Northrop Grumman and (ISC)², and run with the generous help of Cal Poly Pomona, Uber, and Facebook.


We are livestreaming the first and last hours of the competition. Both are hosted by Passcode product manager Sean Sposito and Dan Manson professor of computer information systems, Cal Poly Pomona.

12:00 EDT: Passcode Editor Mike Farrell will interview Phyllis Schneck, the deputy under secretary for cybersecurity and communications for the National Protection and Programs Directorate with the Department of Homeland Security, followed by a ten-minute Q&A. 

There will be a 15-20 minute break, and then starting at 1:00 EDT we will stream updates on the competition and interviews with guests from Northrop Grumman, Uber, and (ISC)² for an hour.

4:15 EDT: The last hour of the livestream begins, and will include a recap of the competition as well as interviews with cybersecurity professionals who are competing with college teams as mentors.

Location and Teams

Passcode CTF will be run in person, on Oct. 21 in Washington, D.C.

The event features teams of four– a mix of college students and cybersecurity professionals to encourage new relationships and mentoring (you may even notice an embedded reporter or two amongst them as well).

The Facebook CTF includes three different levels of challenges: Quizzes, Flags and Bases. Quizzes are questions with an answer that can be one or more words. Flags involve finding an answer (flag) on a remote system. Bases involve a “king of the hill” that require a system to be compromised.

Players from Carnegie Mellon, The University of Virginia, American University, The University of Maryland University College, and around the country will participate.

If you have any questions or would like to participate in a future Passcode CTF, please email

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