NCL Coaching Guide – Selected Challenges for Practice


The following challenges were all taken from previous National Cyber League competitions starting in fall 2015 or are altered versions of challenges created for NCL competitions. All credit for these challenges is due to NCL and Cyber Skyline.

Because these challenges are the intellectual property of NCL and Cyber Skyline, I cannot release the answers to these challenges.

Before You Get Started

The following keywords are important to understand.

  • Category – A learning objective based on industry-relevant skills.
  • Challenge – “A group of questions with a shared theme or artifact. E.g. A group of questions regarding a single log file” (NCL Word of the Week). Note: It is possible to capture multiple flags within a challenge without capturing all of them. You do not have to complete a challenge to gain points
  • Question – An individual question that, when answered correctly, awards a captured flag.
  • Attempts – “The number of submissions that are allotted for a challenge. A challenge may have several questions, so the pool of submissions is shared with all the questions in a given challenge. Both a correct and an incorrect submission will count as a single attempt” (NCL Word of the Week)

Challenges will have a heading that appears at the following:

Challenge 01 – Open Source

It describes a Challenge # (not used by NCL or Cyber Skyline, meant only to help coordinate to the matching Coaching Guide Challenges), then the NCL Category.

Directions and needed files will immediately follow. Files will be named and a short link will be provided.

Lastly, challenge questions will be listed with the point values for each correct answer in parenthesis at the beginning.

If an asterisk (*) is found after the challenge category, this challenge is based on previous NCL challenges, but have been created for use in this guide.

Practice Challenges

Practice Challenges are available in the Following Categories:

Open Source


Password Cracking

Network Traffic Analysis


Coaching Tips are available for all of the Challenges above.