A common problem that occurs when you provide an environment or playground is that the sheer number of choices is overwhelming. Providing a network full of PLCs, Historians, and other ICS equipment often results in an interested participant not actually participating at all because there’s no good place to start or no clear path through the petting zoo.

This year at the S4 we are taking a more directed approach. We want all attendees to have clear goals and clear payoffs to exploring and exploiting new technologies and problems. We’re ramping up the CTF this year and making it the primary focus of what was previously called the “ICS Village.” At S4x16 we will have a full-scale professional-grade jeopardy-style ICS-oriented Capture-the-Flag event.

For those unfamiliar with jeopardy-style CTF events: rather than a fully connected network of corporate systems, an ICS DMZ, a control center zone, firewalls, etc. we will have a set of distinct and discrete challenges to be solved within a set of categories. This method is how virtually all CTFs are organized (e.g. DEF CON, CSAW, PPP). We feel it provides a clear and easy path for participants with frequent rewards to encourage diving further. It also makes the logistics and infrastructure easier which means we can facilitate more participants and more complicated and interesting challenges.

Digital Bond, with the help of many excellent volunteers, has worked hard to create an interesting CTF full of ICS challenges that is sure to test everyone from the ICS Novice to the most seasoned PLC Pwning Wizards. Look for a future post revealing categories and other interesting tidbits related to the challenges themselves. The CTF will run the entire length of the conference and a live scoreboard will be projected at the venue to monitor the excitement.

Be sure to register soon for discounted pricing and before all of the spots are taken. The speaker lineup is fantastic but the CTF is going to be amazing (O.K. maybe I’m biased). Thanks to the volunteers and sponsors who have helped create the new and improved S4 CTF. Come on and get your hack on!