Information for Host Locations

Ethical Hacking Cybersecurity Competition Overview

The Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory (MAGIC) sponsors student programming to enhance workforce development for technology companies, particularly in the cybersecurity industry. MAGIC events are positioned as entry-level beginner events to appeal to the widest possible population of high school and college students. Using an innovative challenge based experiential learning approach, the goals of the events are to build a connected tech ecosystem, to give young people opportunities to acquire and demonstrate new skills, and to expose them to potential employers.

CTF 004 Winners: Joshua Woodward, Jonathon Woodward, Daniel Cleaver

The Capture the Flag (CTF) events are based on content originally developed by the cybersecurity professionals at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and further extended and modified by MAGIC. The content consists of sets of puzzles that require using various hacking tools, coding skills, and just plain puzzle solving to find the answers, which are short strings of code called “flags”. Once located, the flags are entered into a scoreboard, which keeps a tally for all teams. The team with the most points at the end of the timed competition wins.


MAGIC simultaneously holds events in multiple host locations using a cloud-based software platform. This format enables an enlarged pool of competitors, increased reach of exposure to potential employers and expands promotional potential for sponsoring organizations. Recent events featured participants in host locations in Maryland, North Carolina and Idaho, with live streaming on YouTube, Facebook updates, Instagram stories, and live Tweets during the competition. Sponsors also participated in interviews during the event, and promotional spots were inserted into the live stream. Host locations pay a one-time licensing fee per event and location, depending on number of teams.

CTF 006: Saturday, November 3, 2018, 11am-4pm

(all EDT; adjust accordingly for local time)

11:00am Doors Open

11-11:45am Student Check-in

12:00pm Live Coverage Begins

12:30pm Competition Begins

3:30pm Competition Ends 

4:00pm Live Coverage Ends

Host Location Licensing Fee

Host locations pay a one-time licensing fee per event and location, depending on number of teams.

$500 per physical location:

  • Up to 5 teams (20 students max.)
  • MAGIC t-shirt provided for each student
  • Teams appear on MAGIC’s CTF scoreboard
  • Prizes provided by MAGIC

$1000 per physical location:

  • Up to 10 teams (40 students max.)
  • MAGIC t-shirt provided for each student
  • Teams appear on MAGIC’s CTF scoreboard
  • Prizes provided by MAGIC

Library systems please contact Amy Rupp at for special pricing terms and location sign-up link.

If you have reviewed all of the information and are ready to register as a host location for CTF 006, please click the below sign-up link. This link will allow you to pay via online payment or check/money order.  

Two final steps to completing your registration:

1. Send your logo to

2. Fill out the Coaches Contact form (see Coaches Below)

More Information


Download and print these useful checklists so you don’t miss anything:

Checklist, Prior to EVENT DAY


Checklist, EVENT DAY

Communication (Slack)

The Primary Point of Contact, the Main Technical Lead, Coaches, and Person on Video (optional) will need access to Slack for communicating with the Main Arena. All locations are required to become proficient using Slack (a real time messaging and document exchange web service) to communicate in preparation for and during the competition.

Your team will be added to MAGIC’s CTF Slack channels within 2 business days of your location signing up. Slack will be used to communicate leading up to the event and during the competition. This will be your primary way to communicate with us on the day of the event. You will want to have at least one person available to monitor Slack throughout the event as this is where we will make announcements if there are any issues.  

MAGIC’s slack workspace is

To find out more about Slack, visit

Host Location Volunteers

The number of people you will need to have a successful event varies depending on the size of your event. At a minimum MAGIC suggests having 4 people to execute this program:

Primary Point of Contact:

  • Primary liaison with MAGIC
  • Recruiting and vetting 1-2 local coaches for every 3 to 5 teams
  • Recruiting and vetting local volunteers to help with:
    • student participation
    • site logistics
    • marketing and sponsors (optional)

Main Technical Lead:

  • Ensuring the network works and that you can connect to remote servers via remote desktop
  • Securing laptops
  • Monitoring connection during competition
  • Troubleshooting as needed throughout competition
  • Communicating tech issues with (or establishing a tech person to communicate with) MAGIC during the competition over Slack

Coaches: (see below section on Coaches for more information and to register your locations coaches.)

  • 1-2 coaches for every 3 to 5 teams per location.  

Person on Video: (optional if desired)

  • Setting up and monitoring cameras for live feed to be shared with the Main Arena in Westminster, MD.
  • Communicating about live video with MAGIC during the competition over Slack.


MAGIC suggest having 1-2 coaches for every 3 to 5 teams.

Please register your coaches 3 weeks before the event by filling out this form: Coaches Contact Form

Coaches do not have to be cybersecurity experts. However, having an understanding of Kali Linux will be very helpful. People with experience in coding, network administration, cybersecurity, computer science in general, and educators comfortable with cultivating autodidactic learning and problem solving all make excellent coaches.

A Puzzle Prompt Form will be sent to the Primary Point of Contact and the Main Technical Lead that can be given to coaches on the day of the event to assist with guiding students who get stuck on puzzles during the competition. DO NOT give the Puzzle Prompt Form to students. Be sure to collect and destroy the Puzzle Prompt Forms after the event.

Within 2 business days of submitting the Coaches Contact Formyour site will be emailed the login information to the Coach’s Environment and a coach specific website. These 2 resources can be used by your Coaches, the Primary Point of Contact, and the Main Technical Lead. Using these 2 resources will help your team understand what the students will be accessing during the event. Your login information will be disabled the Friday before the event.


Please be prepared to provide laptops for your participants who do not own their own laptop. At the time of registration, we request that participants let us know if they need a laptop. We will update you on the number of laptops needed throughout the registration period and send you the final number of laptops requested by location by noon 2 days before the event.

Laptop must have Remote Desktop software installed. Remote Desktop is the software used to connect to the virtual machines that host the competition content. This software is automatically installed on Windows machines. For Mac users, download Microsoft Remote Desktop from the App Store (free).

Be sure to test on the network the students will be accessing to ensure they can access the remote desktop. Some schools, libraries, and businesses allow staff access, but prevent the public from accessing it. Be sure to test on the network that the students will be using.

On the day of the event, students can use the CTF Team Set Up Form to verify that they can access Remote Desktop prior to the start of the competition.  

An internet connection of at least 50 Mbps up/down will be necessary to participate. If you intend on streaming live video (optional), then at least 100Mbps up/down is ideal.

Each site must have their Main Technical Lead or another appointed tech person on site or on call to assist if there are technical issues at your location.


Registration will open Monday, October 1, 2018 at noon. There is no cost to participants for this event. 

Each individual must register through MAGIC’s website. Each individual will be required to sign an Ethical Hacking Pledge and a Media Release Form as part of their online registration. 

Event registration will close on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at noon. 

By noon on Thursday, November 1, 2018, we will email the Primary Point of Contact the names and email address of all participants as well as a Student Sign-in Form with the names of all participants. Please use the Student Sign-in Form on the day of the event to verify attendees. 

If you are able to take walk-in registrations on the day of the event, please obtain the pertinent contact information with a completed and signed 3 Page Walk-in Registration Form, an Ethical hacking Pledge, and a Media Release Form

Please scan a copy of these completed forms to by Monday, November 5, 2018. 

Competition Timing

Please use a cell phone clock for all timing—it is synced to an atomic clock and will be more accurate than a wall clock or laptop clock. There could be a lag in the video feed, so rely on your cell phone clock for when to start the competition (12:30 PM EDT) and when to stop the competition (3:30 PM EDT).


The scoreboard is a link that will be updated in real time as teams find flags. It can be displayed on a computer screen, projector, or monitor large enough for all of your participants to view. Two days before the event you will receive the web address for MAGIC’s CTF main event scoreboard. Be sure to view the scoreboard from a web browser because a live feed of the main event could display an older visual of the scoreboard.


If a team from your location wins, MAGIC will email their prize to them in the form of Amazon gift cards. The top 3 teams competing will be awarded prizes in the amounts listed below for each member of the team.

Please send the team name, first and last name of the winners and the email address for each member of your site’s winning teams immediately at the conclusion of the competition to so that we can email the winners their prizes.

First prize: $100 Amazon gift card for each team member, up to 4 team members

Second prize: $50 Amazon gift card for each team member, up to 4 team members

Third prize: $25 Amazon gift card for each team member, up to 4 team members

While a live video stream is not required, if a team from your site places in the main event, we would like to show the team on the live stream. If a live video stream is not possible, we ask that you send us photo of the winning team.


MAGIC will mail a t-shirt for each competitor to your host location prior to the event.

Be sure to email one site logo in high resolution vector format by Monday, September 24, 2018 to be included on the t-shirt.

Snacks and Beverages

Providing snacks and beverages during the event helps to make the experience more enjoyable for the participants. We encourage all sites to offer snacks and drinks based on their location and number of participants. The Main Arena will be having pizza! Just remember that snacks that melt or are sticky are not ideal for keyboards.

Student Recruitment

If this is your first time hosting the event, the best way to get students to register for the event is to work with school representatives to promote the event, visit classrooms in your community, and encourage them to sign up. Most students will sign up in the last week prior to the event. MAGIC suggests having a team of people who will reach out to high schools, colleges, and student clubs, as well as, promoting your event on social media. You will receive a copy of our flyer for the event. You can use this or create your own!  


Teams consist of 2 to 4 students. This event is targeted for entry level individuals in the age range of approximately 13-22 years old (high school and college) with little to no experience in technology or cybersecurity. Students just need an interest in cool technology, learning new skills, or preparing for a career in technology (plus curiosity and persistence!).

Video Production

The main event will be covered live and streamed online and broadcast on Carroll County’s local Public Access Channel 19, from the Community Media Center of Carroll County in Westminster, MD. Coverage will begin at 12:00PM. This live production will incorporate interviews and footage from the Main Arena, pre-recorded and live MAGIC sponsor spots, and ongoing snippets of YouTube live feeds from participating host locations. A link to the live stream of this production will be provided to you on the morning of the event over Slack.

Please have a computer screen, projector, or monitor large enough for all of your participants to view the live production. The beginning and end of the live production is the most important part for contestants to view as we will go over how the competition works in the beginning and announce the winners at the end.

Local YouTube Live Video (Optional)

By Monday, September 24, 2018 we will need to know if you have the ability to provide a YouTube live video of your physical location. MAGIC will coordinate a test of your location’s YouTube live feed to ensure your video stream will be usable for the live production. Please note- it can take upto 24 hours to set up YouTube if you have not used it before.

Your YouTube live stream will be periodically added into the live production. Since anyone involved in the event could appear in the live stream they must fill out a release form. You will share the link to your live feed over Slack on the morning of the event.

While a live video stream is not required, if a team from your site wins or places in the main event, we would like to show the team on the live stream. If a live video stream is not possible, we ask that you send us photo of the winning team.

To provide a YouTube Live Video for the Video Production, you will need:

  • Person on site to set up local equipment.
  • HD camera or webcam with output to a computer.
  • Camera resolution of 1080i, 1080p, 720p.
  • Computer should be capable of live streaming.
  • High quality bandwith 5o Mbps up/down at least, 100 Mbps is ideal
  • Hand held or webcam mic.

If you cannot provide these items we cannot guarantee that your video will be included in the live switched production.

Marketing (Optional)

You are helping to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and we encourage you to promote your location’s participation in this event to your local news outlets and on social media. Use MAGIC’s draft press release to promote your event and MAGIC’s draft press release to recognize the winners of the event. You are welcome to create your own press releases as well. We ask that you indicate in your press release that your host location is part of MAGIC’s (the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory’s) Capture the Flag Cybersecurity Competition.

Social Media (Optional)

Please post photos and encourage students to post throughout the event.

Use our hashtag #ctfmagic

Tag MAGIC using the following handles

Facebook: @magicwestmd

Twitter: @magicwestmd

Instagram: @magicwestmd

LinkedIn: MAGIC Inc.

Local Sponsors (Optional)

Your site is welcome to obtain local sponsors that you will promote and highlight locally. MAGIC recruits event sponsors that will be highlighted at the Main Arena, on our live stream of the event and on MAGIC’s t-shirts.


Feel free to use our logos and flyer to promote your host location’s event or make your own!

We ask that you indicate in your promotion that your host location is part of MAGIC’s (the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory’s) Capture the Flag Cybersecurity Competition.

Click here to download our logos