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April 14, 2020

Introducing Vera.codes Capture the Flag Puzzles!

Remember those boundless summer days playing ‘Capture the Flag’ over the scent of freshly cut grass? No other care in the world aside from finding and seizing that victory flag with bragging rights for the rest of the day? ‘Capture the Flag’ wasn’t just an intense physical exercise to release energy; it was a fun mental escape, too. That’s something many of us need now more than ever.

We know a lot about work-hard-play-hard here at Veracode. Every year, Veracoders intermingle practice and play in our “Innovation Hackathons,” encouraging each other to think outside of the box and flex our creative muscles. Veracode’s yearly Hackathon activities span the gamut of energizing challenges and perplexing puzzles - the latter of which we’re excited to share with all of you through Vera.codes.

What is Vera.codes? It’s ‘Capture the Flag’ (CTF) for anyone looking to challenge their mind (and perhaps take a mental break from current events, too). Vera.codes is a series of puzzles ranging from simple to complex. Some require paper and a pencil while others involve advanced abilities and divergent thinking. Pick and choose which puzzles you want to tackle, then work in teams to solve them or fly solo and test your skills.

Signing up is easy and anyone can do it. Register here, confirm your account (note: we will not use your information for anything other than Vera.codes activities), and then dig into the challenges. You can also check the scoreboard to monitor your progress against others and see where you stand – there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition!

Ready, set, solve

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how to solve puzzles on Vera.codes. For each puzzle you open in the challenges section, you’ll need to solve the clues or work through the exercises to find a concealed password. That’s the “flag” we’re after. Once you’ve solved a puzzle and “captured” the hidden password, type it in as the solution on the puzzle’s page and instantly see if you’re right. If not, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.

The puzzles are grouped into three basic levels:

Level 1: These are more common (think crossword puzzle) but might have another layer to them. If you get stuck, look for clues within clues.

Level 2: These are slightly trickier and might require some searching beyond your skillset, or information on specific types of puzzles and how to solve them.

Level 3: These are the most challenging puzzles that often require skills in programming or might push you to take basic skills to another level. 

If you get stuck or need help, some of the puzzles offer guidance in the form of hints. You can also reach out to us on social media using #veracodepuzzles or post in our community to share tips, ask for clues, and celebrate victories. 

Ultimately, we hope you have fun and can use these Hackathon puzzles to sharpen a skillset or spark creative inspiration just like we do.

Ready to get solving? Show us what you’ve got.

Meaghan McBee is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Veracode, responsible for creating content around best practices in application security and the current state of DevSecOps.