To register for the NCL season, you must be at least 13 years old and a student enrolled in a high school, collegiate institution, apprenticeship, or academic boot camp. NCL is currently only available to residents in the United States and Canada and their territories.
All you need to get started is an Internet connection and a computer with a modern browser. Most of the NCL challenges can be solved directly within the browser, but we do recommend that players have access to a Kali Linux virtual machine if they wish to work on the more advanced challenges.
Solving real-world cybersecurity challenges and participating in professional development events. The NCL Games include challenges such as identifying hackers from forensic data, pentesting and auditing vulnerable websites, recovering from ransomware attacks, and more. Whether you’re a returning NCL veteran or completely new to cybersecurity, the wide range of different challenges means that there’s something there to help you learn and grow your skills.
There are tons of resources to help you prepare for the NCL. The NCL Resources Guide is a great place to start includes video tutorials, useful tools, and a practice schedule.
The Power Rankings measures the capabilities of the schools that participate in the NCL. The Power Rankings are published following the end of each season and are calculated by factoring in the top team, top individual, and participation from each school.
Regular NCL registration is $35 for the entire season, which provides access to the Gymnasium, Practice Game, Individual Game, and Team Game. Late registration is $45.
No, players can participate from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection and a web browser.
For technical questions regarding the Cyber Skyline platform or a game challenge, please open a support ticket.
For registration or payment questions, please email email@example.com.
No, the usage of AI tools such as ChatGPT are not allowed during the NCL Games. Players are allowed passively use Internet resources (e.g. Wikipedia or online documentation) but are not allowed to use Internet resources to actively ask for help (e.g. posting questions on online forums or using AI chatbots). Full details are listed in the NCL Rules of Conduct.
NCL covers a wide range of cybersecurity topics including: Open Source Intelligence, Cryptography, Log Analysis, Network Traffic Analysis, Scanning, Forensics, Password Cracking, Enumeration & Exploitation, and Web Application Security.
Participants in the NCL are scored based on their ability to complete the challenges in each game. When a participant submits a correct answer, they will be awarded with points and participants will be ranked based on their total points scored. If there is a tie on points, then the participant with the higher accuracy will get the better rank. If there is also a tie on accuracy, the participant who submitted their last correct answer earlier will get the better rank. For more information, check out the Scoring section from the Manual.
There is a “history” icon in the left sidebar of every challenge. You can click on that icon to view your past answer submissions with timestamps.
Here is a list of some common mistakes that we see when a questions is marked incorrect;
- Did you misread the question?
- Did you submit your answer into the correct submission box?
- Did you use the correct uid while solving the question?
- Did you double check your answer?
- Did you make a typo when submitting your answer? (review your past submissions)
The Cyber Skyline system provides general flexibility for answer submissions. Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that inconsequential formatting (such as capitalization) do not impact the scoring engine.
If you are uncertain if you have the correct formatting for your answer, make sure you consider how formatting may be relevant to the validity of your answer in the given context (e.g. the capitalization of a password does affect validity whereas the capitalization of domain name would typically be inconsequential).
Once you’ve considered how formatting affects the validity of your answer, try submitting your answer. If you believe your answer was marked wrong due to a formatting issue, you can then open a support ticket. Our support team is generally limited in the amount of guidance they can provide on whether or not an answer is “valid” before it is submitted. However, our support team will award retroactive credit for any submissions that were marked incorrect due to an erroneous formatting check.
To change your name on the leaderboard, please go to each one of the events (e.g. Gym, Practice Game, Individual Game, etc) and click on the "Edit Display Name" link on the right hand side of the page.
Note that our system allows you to have a unique name for each event, so please make sure to change your handle on all of the events if you wish to do that.
You can also follow this guide here: https://docs.cyberskyline.com/team-management/changing-the-display-name
Students may register for the NCL season using this registration form. Registration is $35 during regular registration and $45 during late registration. Students may either pay for their registration themselves or redeem a Game Code that will cover their registration (e.g. if their school covers their registration fees or if they receive free registration from an NCL partner)
Coaches may register for the NCL season using this registration form. Coach registration is free and provides unranked access to the NCL season.
Please note that registered coaches without any students may have their accounts disabled at the beginning of the NCL games if an exception has not been made with our support team.
Returning coaches must complete the coach registration each season to gain access to the full NCL dashboard for that season.
Coaches can purchase bulk registrations via credit card using the Coach registration form. Even after completing their registration, coaches may revisit this page to make additional purchases while registration is open.
Coaches may use this form to put in bulk registration and prefunding requests.
Account credit from prefunding does not expire and will roll over from season to seasons.
Yes, NCL game codes can be redeemed at any point during the season (even after registration closes), but may only be used in the season in which they are issued and will not roll over to future seasons.
There are no refunds once payment is rendered. To make an appeal due to a documented, extenuating circumstance, please submit your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Duplicate purchases caused by both the student and school purchasing registration may be eligible for an account credit. To make a request, please open a support ticket and provide the relevant game codes.
Refunds still incur a payment processing fee for the NCL from the card payment processor, so refunds can become a prohibitive cost that would not allow the NCL to continue offering the registration fee of $35 which is discounted for academic purposes.
Even if you are unable to participate in a specific event during the season, you can still access the practice Gymnasium at any point.
Team creation can only be done after completing the NCL season registration.
The individual creating the team should visit the Team Setup page and select “I’m creating a new team”. Once they submit a team name, the team will be created and they will be given an invite link to share with their teammates. Once their teammates visit the invite link and confirm, they will be added to the team.
The current team roster can be viewed by all team members by visiting the Team Setup page.
To switch teams, you should obtain the team invite link from the team you wish to join, then visit the link and confirm that you would like to change teams.
No, it is not possible to directly remove a team member. If you need to remove a team member, please open a support ticket.
The scoring system works the same between individual play and team player.
In team events, progress is shared across everyone on a team. Answer submissions from any player on a team will be reflected across everyone on the team in real-time. The attempt limits for each challenge are also shared across the team and teams are responsible for developing their own system to verify and validate answers before submitting.
Additionally, access to in-browser terminal resources are synced across all team members.
Try asking around at your school to find peers to join a team with! Or, you can chat in the team-search channel in the NCL Discord server to find teammates.
Each team may have up to 7 players and do not need to be from the same school.
- If you are stuck on a challenge, try working on a different challenge then coming back to a problem you’re stuck on with a fresh set of eyes
- Make sure to get some food or refreshments, hydrate and proper rest during the competitive NCL Games to best tackle on the challenges!