Capture The Flag - FAQs

Any Questions?

About 50% of people at our events have never done a CTF (capture the flag) event before. So if you are curious what it's all about then you're not alone.

Zero Days CTF events have a very unique, fun and welcoming atmosphere, and are designed to encourage everyone to have a go and just enjoy themselves. So if you're wondering if you're up for the challenge, we say just give it a go, you have nothing to lose.

For our main ZeroDays CTF, you'll be surrounded by more than 300+ other students, industry professionals and for the first time, secondary school students. As well as some of the top security firms in the country, all happy to sponsor the event and eager to talk and encourage students just like you.

If we still haven't convinced you then then check out our FAQs or send us any queries and we'll be happy to help.


What is a CTF?:
The event is a 'Capture The Flag' (CTF) event, in which teams try to complete as many challenges as they can, completing a challenge earns the team a flag which scores the team points. The team with the most points at the end of the day is the winner.

What can we win?
We now have 3 categories for people to compete in.

  • Schools (new event for secondary schools)
  • Colleges
  • Open

As well as the honor of being crowned Irish Colleges or schools Cyber-Security Champions, we give out over 5,000 euros in prizes each year across all categories, all thanks to our generous sponsors. This includes prizes for the top teams in each category and spot prizes.

Who can win the main college/School prizes?
To be eligible to win the main Colleges or Schools prizes, all team members must be current students from the same Irish/NI college/school. Current student cards will have to be produced as proof of team eligibility, to collect prizes for the colleges.

What category should our team enter?
Everyone on the day competes against other teams in one of three categories: 'Schools', 'College Teams' or 'Open Teams'. School Teams: Students currently enrolled in any Irish/Northern Irish Secondary or Primary school. College Teams: are defined as a team consisting of current students all from the same Irish/Northern Irish college. Open Teams: includes everyone else. (non colleges students, industry professional, mixed college teams, etc.)

How many can we have on our team?
Each team can have a maximum of 4 members, no additional outside help is permitted.You can compete on smaller teams or on your own, but why would you? It's more fun in a team!

What types of challenges should we expect?
School teams can expect 30+ Challenges while College and open teams can expect about 50 challenges on the day with a similar number of challenges in each of the following categories:

  • Web
  • Forensics
  • Crypto
  • Coding
  • Recon
  • Trivia, Puzzles, Logic
  • Pot Luck
  • Hands-on (involves getting out of your chair such as lock picking, treasure hunts etc.)
  • Reversing (College and Open teams only)
  • Exploit (College and Open teams only)

Can we share answers?
Absolutely not! Any sharing or trading of answers will disqualify all teams involved. Trading flags or asking other teams for help is completely against the nature of the event, and ruins the fun for everyone.

We heard something about a theme?
Each year we choose a theme for our event from Fr. Ted to Super heroes. Teams are encouraged to come in fancy dress. This year's theme is 'Harry Potter -VS- Lord of the Rings'. Teams who come in costume (entire teams) will receive a bonus 200 points, and will likely get more spot prizes and have more fun!

What do we need to bring on the day?
You need to bring your own laptops and extension cables. While we try to provide WiFi for everyone we always recommend having access to your own internet hot-spot, through your phone or similar.

Are there any sample challenges we can look at?
The best training is taking part in CTF's the next events are BSides Dublin and also try the online picoCTF.We are in the process of creating a training site, with sample challenges and solutions and links to helpful resources. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for more details.

What if there is a complaint on the day?
The governing rules of all our events are - Play fair and have fun. Any decisions made by the organisers are final.

I've another question, can you help?
If you have any further questions then please feel free to email us and we'll be only happy to try help you find the answer. You can also join our Discord Chat server and ask they for help. Discord Server