When you picture a hacker, who do you see? A silent, shadowy figure hunched over the artificial light of a laptop? An irreverent hoodie-wearing prankster quick with a comeback and quick on the keyboard? In reality, a hacker’s core characteristic is something much more fundamental yet broadly applicable. Hackers are people who think outside of the box. They see the world as a puzzle to be solved and approach every scenario with a curious “I wonder if/how this works” attitude. They are unconventional thinkers who gravitate toward unintentional puzzles found in security systems.
If you’ve ever walked into a bank and wondered how you would rob it, you might have a hacker mindset. If you’ve taken it a step further and thought of how you would prevent that robbery, you might be a white hat hacker. In the hacker world, there are black hats and white hats. Black hat hackers use their curiosity for personal gain to exploit systems, break laws, and extort innocent people. On the other side, white hats use their curiosity to think like the villains and develop protective solutions to make the internet a safer place.
Twelve years ago, a group of like-minded tech-curious people began meeting up in Fort Smith to discuss the forbidden knowledge surrounding security intricacies of the quickly developing, electronically connected world. FS2600 has matured into the premier resource for cyber security enthusiasts in Arkansas whose mission is to educate and grow the hacker culture in the local community.
One way in which we are pursuing that mission is through our annual Capture the Flag (CTF) Tournament. The CTF is a competitive hacking event full of security challenges ranging from web-application hacking, cryptography, reverse engineering, coding, and even lock picking. The 2018 Shell on the Border hacker CTF was a fantastic success. With help from local businesses like Propak, Glidewell Distributing, Pinnacle Communications, BSAVVY Magazine, Core Brewing Co., and FS Coffee Co., the FS2600 team produced a cybersecurity CTF attracting more than 100 participants spanning the entire state, including universities and Fortune 100 companies. Additionally, FS2600 group expanded in numbers, nurturing the hacker culture we represent.
This year, the FS2600 team is back and we have created a cyberpunk spectacle bigger and more epic than ever. Shell on the Border (SOTB) 2.0.19 premiers on May 31st with a full day of technical talks to level up your hacking skill set. These talks are free and open to the public. Following the talks and into June 1st, the CTF takes place. This CTF features enhanced gameplay full of new cyber challenges, including a simulation of a public infrastructure control system, cryptocurrency challenges, and a real-world timed simulation where you must get in, get the digital information, and get out without getting caught.
The College of Lock Picking will return to challenge and teach as well. With 26 hours of nonstop hacking, this year’s CTF is truly a test of stamina! If that isn’t enough, SOTB 2.0.19 will conclude with an awards after-party themed to the aesthetic of the 1995 blockbuster “Hackers.” Hacker communities disrupt the status quo, seek unconventional solutions to challenges, and respect free open access to information. This is just the type of innovation Fort Smith needs to thrive in the next chapter of our story. We have a rich history and we are poised for the future, solving puzzles along the way. Come think outside of the box with us. We want to create a tech-savvy Fort Smith and we think it just might work.
For more information: