CTF 2006 Overview
Physical Layout

photo by Jimp79 (cc:by)
Each team has a color-coded table. The tables are set up in a "U" shape, with the open end facing the wall. The organizers, Kenshoto, are at the center of the room at their circular black table, and had run cables to each of the teams' tables.
Two cables are RJ45 (same as last year), and one cable is RJ11 (uh-oh). One of the RJ45s is an uplink to a switch, and the "team LAN". The network was 192.168.TEAM.0/24. For example, team 3 is on, with a default route of
Each team is given access to a "team server" (on the "team LAN" as 192.168.TEAM.2) with an "admin" account as well as the "root" password. Many vulnerable services are running here, and it is the center of the contest.
The second RJ45 is a mirror port, showing all network traffic into and out of the server. This is to allow network sniffing so that what is happening on the server can be watched at the network level. Unfortunately, this cable wasn't live until late Saturday. Traffic is all source NAT'd, so it isn't possible to distinguish traffic sources to tell a rival team's attack apart from a Kenshoto service poll.
The RJ11 is a regular phone line that gives each team access to the Kenshoto phone system. You can call other teams by their team number, press "0" for "The Hotline", or press "9" for voicemail. All contest points that require interaction with Kenshoto is over "The Hotline" this year. A big change from last year, which used network clients for scoring the non-overwrite points.
On each server are a large number of services (web applications, network services of unknown function, console applications, etc). Each server's services are nearly identical to each other, so if a team can understand what their own server is doing, they have an insight into what the other teams' servers are doing.
For example, services might be a web application where you can order software, the "finger" daemon, or a console-based "mail" too.
Within each service is a "token". It can be one of three possible kinds of tokens: "public", "private", or "overwritten".
Last year, tokens were a long string of alphanumeric characters (base64 encoding). This year, tokens were a 32 character string of digits (base10 encoding). Each team is given a different "team token" to use for overwrites.
To keep the teams from just turning off their server and declaring themselves immune to attack, Kenshoto polls each of the teams' services, and keeps a running record of each team's "Service Level" (SL). This is a percentage of "successful polls" vs "total polls". The idea being that as a team tries to work to patch their vulnerable services, if they accidentally make the service non-functional, their SL will drop. Also, outside attackers may accidentally disrupt a service while trying to gain access to it. By default, each of the servers pass all Kenshoto service polls, so at the start of the contest, every team has a 100% SL.
During each Kenshoto scoring phase, Kenshoto also updates all the "private" tokens with new token values. As the contest goes forward, a team can repeatedly steal tokens from vulnerable services, getting more and more unique tokens.

photo by golfclap.net
The contest is scored based on "Breakthroughs", "Steals", "Pwns", and "Service Level". ("Penalties" can also be levied for breaking rules, etc.)
To earn a "Breakthrough", a team must write up a description of a vulnerable service, and include detailed information on how to exploit its vulnerability, and submit it to Kenshoto. Only software vulnerabilities that give access to either private tokens or allow for overwrites to happen are considered "valid" Breakthroughs.
To earn a "Steal", a team must exploit a vulnerable service and record a private token. To prove that they saw a private token, the team must submit the token to Kenshoto for scoring.
To earn a "Pwn", a team must exploit a vulnerable service and overwrite the service's token with the "team token". Kenshoto is monitoring token locations and automatically notices when a service token has been overwritten by a rival team.
If a team does something against the contest rules (like performing any kind of intentional Denial of Service), Kenshoto "fines" them with Penalty points.
Total score is ( SUM(BT values) + Steals + Pwns ) * SL - Penalties.
The tricky issue with scoring is that BT points are not public, and are not reflected on the visible scoreboard. Each service has an associated BT value, depending on how hard Kenshoto thinks it is to find and exploit a given service. For example, finding how to exploit a network service that accidentally runs commands following a ';', is going to have a small BT value. Finding how to exploit a flaw in a network protocol specifically designed to be obfuscated is going to be worth a great deal more.
To submit a BT, the team has to put a text file with an all-numeric name into their server's "/bt" directory, and then dial the Kenshoto Hotline to submit the BT. For example, after putting the write-up in /bt/0003, a team would pick up the phone:
[dial tone]
"Welcome to the Hotline.
 Press 1 to check service levels.
 Press 2 to submit a token.
 Press 3 to submit a breakthrough."
"Welcome [team name].
 Press 1 for instructions.
 Press 2 to submit a breakthrough.
 Press 3 to check on the status of a breakthrough."
"Enter the filename of your breakthrough,
 followed by the pound sign."
"Your breakthrough has been accepted."
[fast busy]
To submit a stolen token, the team has to dial the Kenshoto Hotline and enter it:
[dial tone]
"Welcome to the Hotline..."
"Welcome [team name].
 Please enter your token now."
"Token accepted.
 Press 1 to submit another token."
[fast busy]
If the token isn't valid, then it responds with "Access Denied" instead of "Token accepted". If you try to submit a token that had already been accepted, it reports "Token previously accepted."
The contest is intended to be about measuring hacking skill. To make sure things stay on course, Kenshoto makes several rules clear:

CTF 2006