While attending the SANS course SEC660, Advanced Penetration Testing, Exploit Writing, and Ethical Hacking in Tokyo, i also took part in the Cyber Defense NetWars challenge. I am very proud to solve it as the 1st place winner.
This is my (very) short review about my experience with the latest NetWars challenge.
The NetWars challenge is consisting of 4 different levels.
What i very much like about the NetWars challenges is that they are very much like real incident response / forensics investigations. The data to work with is seemingly realistic and therefore the questions can pretty good test your skills. I also do like that it seems like there is no leaked question / answer set publicly available! That’s not true for so many other challenges.
On the other hand i really disliked level 4. It starts pretty amazing, it ended up with to much “CTF like” questions. In my option they are not really cyber defense related, they do give the most points if solved correctly. Level 4 should consists about truly hard to solve forensics, malware analysis or other cyber defense related questions.
With “CTF like” in that context I consider every NetWars challange solely for the purpose of solving a puzzle that was created to hide the flag. Now you say “Security incidents are also puzzles!”. Yes, but these puzzles are most of the time solvable with skill and experience, not with knowing every trick in “CTF” games.
That’s it, in total i can absolutely recommend attending a NetWars exercise if you’re already taking a SANS course, its worth the two evenings!
You can read more details about the NetWars tournament here: https://www.sans.org/netwars/cyber-defense