From Noob to Less Noob: "Wisdom" from 10 years of CTFs

Tags: #ctf, #wisdom, #personal.

Yesterday I gave a talk for an Italian workshop on CTFs. The audience was ~200 Italian students at the beginning of their journey into CTFs / infosec / tech careers (~18-24 years old). These are very busy times, but I don't have the chance to reach many young students so often. And so, I took it :-)

Instead of a classic tech talk, I used this occasion to annoy them with "wisdom" accumulated over the last 10 years (!) of being part, in one way or another, of the infosec community.

The talk focused on self-confidence, The Noob Mindset ™, and some tips & tricks to get better at CTFs (individually and as a team).

I believe the slides do a decent job discussing what I mentioned in the talk, but I wrote this quick blog post to address a huge fear I have: the slides, without the accompanying talking clown who adds more context, can be easily misunderstood as arrogant and as "this guy thinks he has figured everything out", especially when not considering the specific audience I was addressing + the very informal tone I used during the talk.

So, for the few of you who still takes me seriously, here is a disclaimer:

I have no idea what I'm talking about. The initial slides talking about my achievements are a (desperate) attempt to "impress" the students to create a contrast with the very humbling reality — that I am and still feel like a massive and clueless noob (and that I'm absolutely OK with it). What I discussed are just some mental tricks that helped me over my journey, but YMMV. Keep what you like, trash the rest.

Alright! Here the slides: From Noob to Less Noob: "Wisdom" from 10 years of CTFs

I stand behind everything I write, but, as always, I welcome any feedback. I expect to change my mind for at least half my points in the near future, maybe you can help me change my mind sooner :-)



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