The content of the article
To be honest, the idea of this project is not mine, and I also have no direct relationship to the implementation. I think I suggested the name, but it’s not accurate 😉 However, I strongly approve and support it in every way and now I will try to explain why.
A bit of history
To succeed in complex areas (namely, I consider information security), two qualities are very useful – curiosity and interest in solving new problems. Moreover, it is to the decision process, and not to the result, because almost everyone likes to get a positive result. In life, you have to learn something new all the time, and it’s good when the study continues not because “they asked in the lesson,” but because it gives joy. Over time, so much knowledge accumulates that it is easily converted into an interesting job (and sometimes even with a high salary).
When a computer appeared at my place, and I realized that reverse engineering fascinated me very much, I began to look for a way to “pump” in this area. It is good to study when there is a well-developed training course, a methodology verified over the years, study guides and a teacher nearby who helps to comprehend science are available. But I had none of this.
Moreover, when they ask me now: “Where is the best way to go to learn to reverse?”, I don’t know what to answer. I have only one reliable algorithm in my head, how to upgrade to RE, and it consists of only three steps:
- Select a task.
- Solve it.
- Repeat from the beginning.
If there are difficulties with the solution, you can ask for a hint. But solving without a hint is much more interesting 😉
And it turns out that for effective development it is necessary to take tasks somewhere.
Where and how do reversers train
In the late 90s, when I was a student and graduate student, I did not know what CTF (capture the flag) is, but already then there were sites on the Internet with challenges – collections of interesting tasks. Now I can recall the names of four of them – there I spent many wonderful minutes (more precisely, days and weeks), solving problems:
It is noteworthy that the first two resources are still alive!
Of course, there was a scoreboard on these sites, and you could compare your achievements with the successes of others. But for me personally, it didn’t matter what my position in the ranking was (possibly because I never got to the top). But I always waited and read with trepidation letters in which the appearance of new tasks was announced.
Much later, starting in 2010, I began to travel with reports to conferences and participate in reverse contests that were held there. I won contests at Confidence 2010 and PHDays 2011 and 2012. Winning prizes while doing what you love is doubly nice. But there is one negative point: usually the competitive tasks are not solved in 15 minutes, and instead of visiting reports and talking with interesting people, you are sitting, having buried in a disassembler.
Therefore, when in August 2012 I began working at Positive Technologies and began to independently organize a contest Best reversers for PHDays, I preferred it to take place not during the conference, but before it. Then I learned about CTF and got to know the cool guys who played it, and even participated several times myself. But CTF is still a contest with rivals. To achieve success in this competition, you need to devote a lot of time to it, and not only when it is convenient for me.
In 2013, I learned about the existence of the site checkio.org, where it was necessary to solve problems related to programming in Python (now there is also TypeScript, and the site supports the Russian language). About a month I spent all my free time solving these tasks. At some point, I had to say to myself: “STOP! Are you not going to make money by programming in Python? ”
But the format offered there seemed to me ideal. After I solved the problem, I could look at other people's solutions and take something useful from them. And at the same time, I did not compete with other participants, but with myself, in conditions that were comfortable for me. And the thing that conquered me the most was that at some point I was offered to create my own tasks (though I never took this opportunity).
The bottom line: a new library of tasks for reverse engineers
And after several years at Positive Technologies, I had the idea to make resource with reverse tasks, which will be active not a couple of weeks before PHDays and not a month and a half a year (as, say, flare-on.com), but continuously.
Platform is made based on CTFdfamiliar to active CTF players. From the point of view of the user, it is extremely easy to use and provides everything that is needed to place tasks and monitor the rating of participants.
We hope that reverseveryday.com will actively develop, and plan to regularly add new tasks developed by Positive Technologies. We will not add other people's tasks without demand (there is such a thing – copyrights), but if the authors of the tasks for CTF (suitable for the format of the site) want and allow to place them, we will gladly do it. Well, we hope that participants will sometimes offer their original tasks.
For whom is reverseveryday.com conceived?
For anyone interested in reverse engineering. And for beginners who take the first steps. And for professionals who earn a living by reversing their lives (but have not lost their curiosity and passion for solving puzzles). And for players in CTF (although we don’t plan to arrange a competition with other players and, of course, we know about ctftime.org)
What are the rules for participation?
Everything is quite simple. You can view and download tasks without registration, however, in order to pass the decision and get the points for it, you need to register. After completing at least one task, your name will be displayed on the scoreboard. Of course, we don’t really want decisions on tasks laid out on the Net, but it will not work out explicitly to prohibit and stop this, so we hope for your honesty.
Why is it Positive Technologies?
I really liked the idea of Mail.ru, which was used for their projects Technopark, Technotrek, and Technosphere. Investing in the development of highly skilled professionals is beneficial – even if they don’t go to work for you. Because smart people are always in short supply 😉
See you at reverseveryday.com!