Capture the Flag competitions focus on current cyberattack exploits used by hackers Reuters

Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving and engaging field, which often requires security specialists, both amateurs and professionals, to be constantly educating themselves about the most current and popular exploits and techniques used in the real world. Facebook has announced that it intends to school developers on cybersecurity issues by open sourcing its anti-hacker training tool.

The social media giant has open-sourced its Capture the Flag (CTF) competition in efforts to foster more awareness among students and developers about online security. Facebook has conducted several CTF competitions in the past in efforts to educate amateurs and professionals about online security. The tech giant has now released its in-house CTF platform to the public on GitHub.

CTF competitions are generally run to foster increased awareness among security specialists and students about the most popular as well as emerging cyber-exploits being used by both white-hat hackers and malicious entities in the real world. It is considered to be an effective teaching method in educating those interested about new software flaws and common security issues and is even conducted in events like the hacker convention Def Con.

Facebook software developer Gulshan Singh, who is part of the company's threat infrastructure team told Venture Beat that the reason behind his successful employment could be partly attributed to his decision to participate in CTFs when in university. "I learned about RSA encryption in my computer science courses, but CTFs taught me how to break it when it wasn't properly implemented, which happens all the time in the real world. It's a lot of fun to learn this offensive side of security, but at the same time learning about these flaws makes you a better defender, as well."

Facebook has a history of open-sourcing its in-house programmes that do not reveal vital insider information. The tech giant has over 200 projects available on GitHub and hopes to encourage more youngsters to take up an interest in the various aspects of security technology. According to Facebook's open source head James Pearce, the company is able to write better code and software and "retain the world's best engineers because they know they can open-source their work".