Nowadays penetration testing is where it’s at. Whether trying to learn security, becoming a white hat, or consulting it’s a must have skill. However, it can be intimidating on where to start. Besides picking up books the next best way to learn is through capture the flag events.
Capture the Flag
Computer/hacking capture the flag events are usually team based timed events where you’re pitted against several opponents and trying to earn the highest score. Points are awarded for both offensive and defensive maneuvers. Typically each team will have a virtual machine they need to defend while trying to exploit vulnerabilities in other team’s VM.
The best place to find one in your area (besides attending a con) is your local 2600 chapter. If they don’t hold CTFs then try a local information security club. If you live in the mountains and can’t find either you can use Hack This Site which runs virtual CTF events 24/7.
Remember, hacker (white hat) and cracker (black hat).