RunCode challenge returns with coding, pwning puzzles—and prizes

Capture the flag with your code in the RunCode challenge this weekend.

Enlarge / Capture the flag with your code in the RunCode challenge this weekend. (credit: Getty Images)

It’s Veterans Day weekend again, which means it’s time for the return of RunCode, an annual capture-the-flag-style programming and information security competition run by a non-profit group formed by a collection of volunteers (many of them with day jobs in the military) three years ago.

Originally a straight coding competition that supported multiple languages, RunCode evolved last year toward more of a security focus—though its challenges still involve writing code to overcome the puzzles. Points are accumulated with the completion of each challenge, based on its level of difficulty. Currently, the contest features 17 “easy,” nine “intermediate,” and three “hard” challenges. The tasks include challenges in networking, math, encryption, forensics, “pwning,” reverse-engineering, and Web hacking, among others.

The prizes include a one-year subscription to the penetration testing training site Hack the Box, a Wi-Fi Pineapple Nano from Hak5, a 4-gigabyte Raspberry Pi 4, a RTL software-defined radio kit, and a WarCollar Industries DopeScope 2.0 Wi-Fi hunting tool (very useful for finding Wi-Fi hotspots and catching the “fox” during wireless challenges at hacker cons). Depending on participation, more prizes may be added, according to event organizers.

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