Namibia National Cybersecurity Competition rules

Competition rules

Approved national rules for the NNCSC competition series

  • Competitor Eligibility
  • Team Composition
  • Team Representatives
  • Competition Conduct
  • Internet Usage
  • Permitted Materials
  • Professional Conduct
  • Questions, disputes and disclosures
  • Scoring
  • Rules Documents

Throughout these rules, the following terms are used

Gold Team– competition officials that organise, run, and manage the competition. They solicit for sponsorship and handle all communication.

Yellow Team– competition officials that are responsible for the event logistics including food, venue and program design.

Red Team– penetration testing professionals simulating external hackers attempting to gain unauthorised access to competition teams’ systems.

Blue Team– competition support members who provide overall administrative support to the competition. They develop the documentation and rules.

Blue Team– the institution competitive teams consisting of students competing in a NNCSC event.

Silver Team– competition support members responsible for the infrastructure and provide technical support.

Green Team– competition officials, who observe team performance in their competition area, judge and evaluate team performance and rule compliance.

Team Captain– a student or team member of the Blue or Red Team identified as the primary liaison between the Blue Team and the White or Black Team.

Team Co-Captain– a student or team member of the Blue or Red Team identified as the secondary or backup liaison between the White Team and the Blue or Red Team, should the Team Captain be unavailable (i.e. not in the competition room).

Team representatives – a faculty or staff representative of the competing (Red or Blue) Team’s host institution responsible for serving as a liaison between competition officials and the White Team’s institution.

Approved national rules for the NNCSC competition series. Please refer to the official rules of the competition.


Competitor Eligibility

  1. Competitors in NNCSC events must be full-time students of the institution they are representing.
  2. Team members must qualify as full-time or part-time students as defined by the institution they are attending (NUST or UNAM or IUM or any registered college or High School in their country of residence).
  3. Individual competitors may participate in NNCSC events for a maximum of five years.
  4. A competitor awaiting their graduation is exempt from the full-time/ part-time student requirement and may compete in NNCSC events provided the competitor has a demonstrated record of full-time attendance for the previous semester (applies to College and University students mainly).
  5. If a team member competes in a qualifying, NNCSC competition and graduates before the next level of the NNCSC event in the same year, that team member will be allowed to continue to compete at NNCSC events during the same year should their team win and advance to the next round of competition (applies to College and University students mainly)
  6. Competitors may only be a member of one team per NNCSC year.
  7. Individuals who have participated in previous NNCSC events in any role other than as a competitor must obtain eligibility approval from the manager of the competition prior to being added to the team list. Once a candidate’s eligibility has been approved they will remain eligible for all NNCSC events during the same year.

Team Composition

  1. Each team must submit a list of up to  twenty (20) competitors to the competition manager of the competition. Lists must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the start of that event. All competitors on the list must meet all stated eligibility requirements. No changes to the team list will be permitted after the team has participated in the pre-training session. The competition team of 15 must be chosen from the submitted list. A competition team is defined as the group of individuals eligible to compete in a NNCSC event.
  2. Each competition team may consist of up to Fifteen (15) members chosen from the submitted list.
  3. Each competition team may have no more than two (2) graduate students as team members (applies to College and University students mainly)
  4. Once a NNCSC event has begun, a team must complete the competition with the team that started the competition. Substitutions, additions, or removals of team members are prohibited except for extreme circumstances.
    1. Team Representatives must petition the Competition manager in writing for the right to perform a change to the competition team.
    2. The Competition manager must approve any substitutions or additions prior to those actions occurring.
  5. Teams or team members arriving after an event’s official start time, for reasons beyond their control, may be allowed to join the competition provided a substitution has not already been made. Event coordinators will review the reason for lack of punctuality and make the final determination.
  6. Each team will designate a Team Captain for the duration of the competition to act as the team liaison between the competition staff and the teams before and during the competition. In the event of the Team Captain’s absence, teams must have an identified team liaison serving as the captain in the competition space at all times during competition hours.
  7. An institution is allowed to compete more than one team in any NNCSC event, but may not interchange team members who have been registered to participate in another team of the same institution.

Team Representative

  1. Each team must have at least one representative present at every NNCSC event. The representative must be a faculty or staff member of the institution the team is representing.
  2. Once a NNCSC event has started, representatives may not coach, assist, or advise their team until the completion of that event (including overnight hours for multi-day competitions).
  3. Representatives may not enter their team’s competition space during any NNCSC event.
  4. Representatives must not interfere with any other competing team.
  5. The representative, or any non-team member, must not discuss any aspect of the competition event, specifically event injections, configurations, operations, team performance or red team functions, with their team during NNCSC competition hours and must not attempt to influence their team’s performance in any way………………..

Competition Conduct

  1. Throughout the competition, Operations and Silver Team members will occasionally need access to a team’s system(s) for scoring, troubleshooting, etc. Teams must immediately allow Operations and Silver Team members’ access when requested.
  2. Teams must not connect any devices or peripherals to the competition network unless specifically authorised to do so by Operations or Silver Team members.
  3. Teams may not modify the hardware configurations of competition systems. Teams must not open the case of any server, printer, PC, monitor, KVM, router, switch, firewall, or any other piece of equipment used during the competition. All hardware related questions and issues should be referred to the White Team.
  4. Teams may not remove any item from the competition area unless specifically authorised to do so by Operations or Silver Team members including items brought into the team areas at the start of the competition.
  5. Team members are forbidden from entering or attempting to enter another team’s competition workspace or room during NNCSC events.
  6. Teams must compete without “outside assistance” from non-team members including team representatives from the start of the competition to the end of the competition (including overnight hours for multi-day events). All private communications (calls, emails, chat, texting, directed emails, forum postings, conversations, requests for assistance, etc) with non-team members including team representatives that would help the team gain an unfair advantage are not allowed and are grounds for disqualification and/or a penalty assigned to the appropriate team.
  7. Printed reference materials (books, magazines, checklists) are permitted in competition areas and teams may bring printed reference materials to the competition.
  8. Team representatives, sponsors, and observers are not competitors and are prohibited from directly assisting any competitor through direct advice, “suggestions”, or hands-on assistance. Any team sponsor or observers found assisting a team will be asked to leave the competition area for the duration of the competition and/or a penalty will be assigned to the appropriate team.
  9. Team members will not initiate any contact with members of the BlackTeam during the hours of live competition. Team members are free to talk to BlackTeam members during official competition events such as breakfasts, dinners, mixers, and receptions that occur outside of live competition hours.
  10. Teams are free to examine their own systems but no offensive activity against other teams, the Operations Team, the White Team, or the Black Team will be acceptable. This includes port scans, unauthorised connection attempts, vulnerability scans, etc. Any team performing offensive activity against other teams, the Operations Team, the White Team, the Red Team, or any global asset will be immediately disqualified from the competition. If there are any questions or concerns during the competition about whether specific actions can be considered offensive in nature contact the Operations Team before performing those actions.
  11. Teams are allowed to use active response mechanisms such as TCP resets when responding to suspicious/malicious activity. Any active mechanisms that interfere with the functionality of the scoring engine or manual scoring checks are exclusively the responsibility of the teams. Any firewall rule, IDS, IPS, or defensive action that interferes with the functionality of the scoring engine or manual scoring checks are exclusively the responsibility of the teams.
  12. All team members will wear badges identifying team affiliation at all times during competition hours.
  13. Only Operations Team/Silver Team members will be allowed in competition areas outside of competition hours……

Internet Usage

  1. Internet resources such as FAQs, how-to’s, existing forums and responses, and company websites, are completely valid for competition use provided there is no fee required to access those resources and access to those resources has not been granted based on a previous membership, purchase, or fee. Only resources that could reasonably be available to all teams are permitted. For example, accessing Cisco resources through a CCO account would not be permitted but searching a public Cisco support forum would be permitted. Public sites such as Security Focus or Packet storm are acceptable. Only public resources that every team could access if they chose to are permitted.
  2. Teams may not use any external, private electronic staging area or FTP site for patches, software, etc. during the competition. Teams are not allowed to access private Internet-accessible libraries, FTP sites, web sites, network storage, email accounts, or shared drives during the competition. All Internet resources used during the competition must be freely available to all other teams. The use of external collaboration and storage environments such as Google Docs/Drive is prohibited unless the environment was provided by and is administered by competition officials. Accessing private staging areas or email accounts is grounds for disqualification and/or a penalty assigned to the appropriate team.
  3. No peer to peer or distributed file sharing clients or servers are permitted on competition networks unless specifically authorised by the competition officials.
  4. Internet activity, where allowed, will be monitored and any team member caught viewing inappropriate or unauthorised content will be subject to disqualification and/or a penalty assigned to the appropriate team. This includes direct contact with outside sources through AIM/chat/email or any other public or non-public services including sites such as Facebook. For the purposes of this competition inappropriate content includes pornography or explicit materials, pirated media files, sites containing key generators and pirated software, etc. If there are any questions or concerns during the competition about whether specific materials are unauthorized contact the White Team immediately.
  5. All network activity that takes place on the competition network may be logged and subject to release. Competition officials are not responsible for the security of any information, including login credentials, which competitors place on the competition network.

Permitted Materials

  1. No memory sticks, flash drives, removable drives, CDROMs, electronic media, or other similar electronic devices are allowed in the room during the competition unless specifically authorised by the Operations or Silver Team in advance. Any violation of these rules will result in disqualification of the team member and/or a penalty assigned to the appropriate team.
  2. Teams may not bring any type of computer, laptop, tablet, PDA, cell phone, smart phone, or wireless device into the competition area unless specifically authorised by the Operations or Silver Team in advance. Any violation of these rules will result in disqualification of the team member and/or a penalty assigned to the appropriate team.
  3. Printed reference materials (books, magazines, checklists) are permitted in competition areas and teams may bring printed reference materials to the competition as specified by the competition officials.

Questions, Disputes and disclosures

  1. PRIOR TO THE COMPETITION: Team captains are encouraged to work with the Competition Director and their staff to resolve any questions regarding the rules of the competition or scoring methods before the competition begins.
  2. DURING THE COMPETITION: Protests by any team must be presented in writing by the Team Captain to the Green Team as soon as possible. The competition officials will be the final arbitrators for any protests or questions arising before, during, or after the competition. Rulings by the competition officials are final. All competition results are official and final as of the Closing Ceremony.
  3. In the event of an individual disqualification, that team member must leave the competition area immediately upon notification of disqualification and must not re-enter the competition area at any time. Disqualified individuals are also ineligible for individual or team awards.
  4. In the event of a team disqualification, the entire team must leave the competition area immediately upon notice of disqualification and is ineligible for any individual or team award.
  5. All competition materials including injects, scoring sheets, and team-generated reports and documents must remain in the competition area. Only materials brought into the competition area by the student teams may be removed after the competition concludes.


  1. Scoring will be based on keeping required services up, controlling/preventing unauthorised access, and completing business tasks that will be provided throughout the competition. Teams accumulate points by successfully completing injects and maintaining services. Teams lose points by violating service level agreements, usage of recovery services, and successful penetrations by the Black Team.
  2. Scores will be maintained by the competition officials and may be shared at the end of the competition. There will be no running totals provided during the competition. Team rankings may be provided at the beginning of each competition day.
  3. Any team action that interrupts the scoring system is exclusively the responsibility of that team and will result in a lower score. Any team member that modifies a competition system or system component, with or without intent, in order to mislead the scoring engine into assessing a system or service as operational, when in fact it is not, may be disqualified and/or the team assessed penalties. Should any question arise about scoring, the scoring engine, or how scoring functions, the Team Captain should immediately contact the competition officials to address the issue.
  4. White Teams are strongly encouraged to provide incident reports for each Black Team incident they detect. Incident reports can be completed as needed throughout the competition and presented to the Silver Team for collection. Incident reports must contain a description of what occurred (including source and destination IP addresses, timelines of activity, passwords cracked, access obtained, damage done, etc), a discussion of what was affected, and a remediation plan. A thorough incident report that correctly identifies and addresses a successful black Team attack may reduce the Black Team penalty for that event – no partial points will be given for incomplete or vague incident reports.

Team Site judging and  Compliance

  1. With the advent of viable remote access technologies and virtualisation, teams will have the ability to participate in NNCSC events from their respective institutions. This section addresses policy for proper engagement in NNCSC events for remote teams.
  2.  One or more Remote Site Judge(s) must be assigned to the team site. At least one Remote Site Judge must be present at the remote site for the duration of the event in order to facilitate the execution of the NNCSC. The qualifications of Remote Site Judge is the same as Event Judge. Subject to the specifications of the remote competition, the responsibilities of the Remote Site Judge may include the following:
      • Be present with the participating team to assure compliance with all event rules
      • Provide direction and clarification to the team as to rules and requirements
      • Establish communication with all Event Judges and provide status when requested
      • Provide technical assistance to remote teams regarding use of the remote system
      • Review all equipment to be used during the remote competition for compliance with all event rules
      • Assure that the Team Captain has communicated to the Event Judges approval of initial system integrity and remote system functionality
      • Assist Event Judges in the resolution of grievances and disciplinary action, including possible disqualification, where needed
      • Report excessive misconduct to local security or police
      • Assess completion of various injects based on timeliness and quality when requested by Event Judges
      • Act as a liaison to site personnel responsible for core networking and internet connectivity
      • Provide direct technical assistance to teams when requested by Event Judges
      • Provide feedback to students after the completion of the NNCSC event.

3. A recommendation for Remote Site Judge(s) is expected to be given from a Team representative of the participating institution to the NNCSC Event Manager. Remote Site Judge(s) must not be currently employed, a student of, or otherwise affiliated with the participating institution, other than membership on an advisory board. NNCSC Event Managers should also be comprised of a contact from the participating institution responsible for core networking and internet connectivity that will be available during the NNCSC event. Remote teams are required to compete from a location with controlled access, i.e., a separate room or a portion of a room that is dedicated for use during the NNCSC event. Workstations and internet access must comply with published requirements.