Our team at CTF uses a linux server to NAT our connection and run some simple services. It also runs a firewall between us and the CTF network which helps with protecting our PCs in case of some adventurous competitors.


The box we use is a ZOTAC ZBOX E1730 Plus. It has a 1TB HD and 8GB of ram, and a core i5. The best part is it has two ethernet ports which means we can have a connection to the CTF network and a local LAN for the team. The 1TB HD is great for storing VMs and OS isos, you never know when you are going to need a win xp vm to run a specific binary.


The box itself is running Debian 8 (Jessie). On this we run a DHCP server to assign local IPs the LAN.


If you are not running a firewall in a ctf, you should be. We need to allow users from the local intranet out to the ctf network

sudo ufw allow in on eth0 to any

We also need to set up the NAT, add this to the top of the /etc/ufw/before.rules file.


The firewall setup should be done.


The dhcp server can be installed easily enough sudo apt-get install isc-dhcp-server. Then edit the configuration file sudo vim /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf. Comment or delete everything and add the following.

ddns-update-style none;
option domain-name "xip.local";
default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;
log-facility local7;
option classless-routes code 121 = array of unsigned integer 8;
subnet netmask {
    option classless-routes 16, 172,31, 192,168,123,1

The particular settings that will be specific to the CTF and the individual are option domain-name, and option classless-routes. Depending on the CTF network you will want to change the subnet and routes so that the LAN does not overlap the network and so your box pushes the network routes. In our case all the problems except for a few fancy network ones were on the 172.31 subnet. We chose the 192.168.123 subnet because it is easy to remember and not usually used.


We did not utilize the IRC server too much but it was useful to post what problem you were currently working on and if you changed problems so you don’t have to keep asking and remembering who is working on what problem. I used the inspircd server for this sudo apt-get install inspircd. The only setting I changed was the bind address in /etc/inspircd/inspircd.conf to listen on the LAN.

<bind address="" port="6667" type="clients">

There are a ton of other settings you can set and enable such as ssl and passwords. But I figured since we have a firewall set up and are only listening on the LAN and don’t post keys to the IRC, it should be OK.


I and a friend wrote a pastebin clone that is kind of a mix of pbnh and haste. With this server we could post anything we want. We did not use it but the code is here to deploy it pbnh.


For a firewall, which everyone should be using. We used UFW sudo apt-get install ufw and to enable sudo ufw enable. The only gotcha here is to make sure you have it enabled on the correct ethernet port, and to allow traffic from the internal network anywhere. sudo ufw allow in on eth0 to any