In just a few short weeks MAGIC, short for Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, Inc., will be hosting their 4th Capture the Flag event. This isn’t your traditional game of CTF though!

This is an ethical hacking competition in which teams of up to 4 can compete. They will be pitting themselves against other teams of ethical hackers, both in the same site and remotely from various other locations. Although there won’t be an open field and pennies for each team to wear, it’s sure to be just as full of excitement.

Who is MAGIC?

MAGIC is a non-profit collaborative located right here in Westminster. Their goal is to help the community take full advantage of the new fiber internet system. This would make Carroll County a destination for tech entrepreneurs, companies, and professionals.

To do this, MAGIC is trying to develop what they call a “Tech Ecosystem” in which they are preparing the residents for the tech world by providing them with the chance to learn skills like hacking, web development, and app development.

What is Ethical Hacking?

Hacking is often associated with malicious intent. It’s hard to disassociate hacking from the viruses and malware that they are known to have created. The term Ethical Hacking seems to be some sort of mistake. How can hacking be ethical? What would an Ethical Hacker even do?

Ethical hacking is the term used to describe hacking done by individuals or groups for the purpose of finding and fixing holes in network security. These hackers are often hired on by large corporations to test their systems in a controlled manner. In turn, any weaknesses found can be fixed to prevent them from being exploited by malicious hackers. This kind of partnership allows both hackers and the companies that hire them to benefit. Hacking may not be so black and white after all; it can be positive or negative depending on the circumstances surrounding it.

How Does It Work?

The competition will take place on Saturday, November 4th between the hours of 11am-4pm. The main site for the competition will be right here in Westminster at the Community Media Center off of Washington Road. The Westminster site, along with the multiple satellite locations, will compete in the competition by using different hacking tools to solve puzzles. By solving puzzles, the different teams can earn points. The team with the most points at the end wins!

What if I don’t know how to hack? You can still take part in the competition. It is an entry-level cybersecurity competition and no prior experience is necessary to compete! It is a chance to learn more about the field, learn new skills, and prepare yourself for a possible career in a technology based field. So, take a chance and dive into the world of hacking!

Who’s Hacking?

The event continues to grow each time MAGIC has hosted it. There have been a growing number of both participants and satellite locations. Some of the groups that have participated here in Westminster include: students from local high schools, Carroll Community College, and McDaniel College.

As interest has grown, MAGIC has created other events to quench the community’s thirst for technology based competitions. They hosted their first ever Hack-a-thon earlier this year in which participants learned how to build an app. One of their competitors followed through with their idea and won the Carroll County Biz Challenge in July. The Carroll County Community has taken the plunge into this new world of technology and innovation!