How to Act Like a Professional in the NCL Games

The whole idea behind the National Cyber League Games is to show you (the players) what it would be like to be an industry professional: having challenges thrown at you that you may have never encountered before and seeing if you have the skills to research and solve these problems. But what exactly does it mean to act like a professional?

First and foremost, this means acting with honesty and integrity. For the NCL Games, that pretty much means don’t cheat. Before every season, refresh yourself on the Official Rules of Conduct and CryptoKait‘s cheating blog.

Secondly, treat all members of the NCL community with respect. Members of the community include all other players, NCL Player Ambassadors, NCL officials, and Cyber Skyline officials. You should think of all of these people as your co-workers and colleagues. If you wouldn’t curse and spew negativity at your co-workers in an office setting, don’t do so during the Games. This goes for all communication, public channels and direct messages, on the Cyber Skyline/NCL Slack channels, Cyber Skyline support tickets, and any interactions, public or private, on social media. There is definitely a way to give negative feedback in a positive and constructive way and have a conversation without cursing. Please think about the words your sending and saying before putting them out into the world. Also remember that this type of behavior it is against the Rules of Conduct and could easily lead to disciplinary actions being taken against you. If you’re unsure if what you’re saying could be considered offensive or disrespectful, think twice before hitting that send button and maybe don’t hit send at all.

Do not do anything that would be considered illegal. Many activities that are part of penetration testing are considered illegal without written consent. There’s a reason that Cyber Skyline includes warnings on some challenges which say, “Do not use any automated tools.” There’s also a list of attacks that are not permitted within the Rules of Conduct, as well as several statements about following local, state, and national laws, and all of your institutions policies (i.e., plagiarism). NCL would hate to see any players be put on trial for doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing, so please be careful and look up what is considered a cyber crime before doing anything questionable.

Consider any display name, profile pictures, or other representations of your or your teammates very carefully. Remember that we have students as young as 14 in the Games. We don’t want anyone’s parents not allowing them to play in the games because of your content. Let’s avoid partial or implied nudity, anything overly sexual, or anything that may even be considered racists, sexist, or any other -ist. We are all friends here regardless of our DNA or where we come from.

I can’t believe I have to add this section, but if you do decide to cheat, and you get caught, the best option is to learn from your mistakes. If decide to go through the appeals process, be completely honest when speaking with the NCL officials and your coach. (Reminder that you do need to have a coach to represent you in the appeals process. If you do not have a coach, you are ineligible for appeal.) It will not help you to get angry and defensive about being caught. If you did get caught, they already know exactly what you did and how you did it, so don’t lie to try to get out of it. You’ll usually find, if you’re honest about what happened, the punishment will be a lot less severe.

If you have any questions about this feel free to reach out to myself or any of the other Player Ambassadors, either through the #ask-an-ncl-ambassador on the Cyber Skyline Slack or on Twitter, which can all be found on the side panel of this website. You can also reach out to with any questions as well.


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