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3 simple steps to get started with CyberStart as a complete beginner

3 simple steps to get started with CyberStart as a complete beginner

Not sure where to begin in CyberStart? Learn how to play your first challenge, discover where to find helpful resources and become a cyber pro in no time!

Everything you need to know to get started with CyberStart ASAP.

Have you just started learning cyber security with CyberStart or are still thinking about signing up? Then it’s time to discover how to get started on the platform!

Keep reading to learn how to solve your first challenge, where to find useful resources, how to play with friends and lots of bonus tips along the way.

Let’s get started!

1. How to play your first CyberStart challenge

With no rules on where to start first, you’re in control of playing CyberStart however you choose!

Simply sign in to your CyberStart account to access your dashboard and see the bases you can play.

The CyberStart dashboard and the four bases

What is a CyberStart base?

Each base focuses on a different range of cyber security techniques. Choose which base you want to explore or play them all to complete your cyber security skill set.

Intern base - start your journey as an intern for the Cyber Protection Agency while trying a variety of cyber security disciplines.

Headquarters (HQ) base - develop sought-after cyber security skills like ethical hacking, cryptography and Linux commands.

Moon base - the perfect place to start learning and advancing your skills in programming and coding using a popular programming language called Python.

Forensics base - unleash your detective skills and learn what it’s like to work in the field of digital forensics while practising techniques like file manipulation, hashing and network forensics.

Signed up for a free CyberStart account? You only have access to the 12 challenges in Intern base. Signed up for one of our free programmes or upgraded your free account? You have access to all 200+ challenges across four bases (Intern, HQ, Moon and Forensics).

Playing your first CyberStart challenge

Once you’ve chosen a challenge to play, you’ll be prompted to read a short brief.

Read the briefs carefully. Each brief will give you important information about the criminals you’re investigating and how to solve the challenges.

Let’s take a look at one of the first challenges you could encounter in CyberStart to see how we might solve it.

Intern base level 1, challenge 1 (L1, C1) - Hello World

The brief of this challenge tells us:

We’ve found a profile page of a known hacker that we need to get in contact with but most of the information visible on the page is useless to us. However, there is one secret way to contact him - he’s managed to inject on the page a hidden email address. We need you to find his email address!

A CyberStart challenge that shows the social media profile containing information about the hacker

How do we solve this challenge?

It’s time to start thinking like a cyber agent!

How would you hide an email address in plain site? Perhaps you might change the colour of the text so it blends in and becomes invisible.

Is there a way that you could check for text that’s been hidden this way? If you don’t know, try searching for how to do this online.

Once you’ve found the email address, paste it into the “Insert flag” box to complete the challenge and earn your points.

Want to try this challenge? Sign up for your free CyberStart account to give it a go!

Bonus tips

The panel on the left of each challenge is useful when playing challenges.

  • “Show Briefing” will show you the challenge brief again.
  • “View Hint” will give you a hint to solve the challenge.
  • “Visit the Field Manual” will take you to a relevant part of the Field Manual that could help you solve the challenge you’re stuck on. (Keep reading to learn about the Field Manual).

Have a question about CyberStart? Visit our FAQs page to find the solutions to common questions.

2. How to optimise your cyber security knowledge and solve challenges when you’re stuck

Get help solving challenges with CyberStart’s Field Manual

The Field Manual is your go-to resource for solving challenges and gaining a deeper understanding of the skills you’ll learn in CyberStart.

Visit the Field Manual from the top panel when you sign in to your CyberStart account.

The Field Manual contains:

  • A useful intro chapter to get you started with CyberStart.
  • In-depth guides that will strengthen your knowledge of web, cryptography, Linux, programming, binary and forensics.
  • A walkthroughs section containing videos on how to solve some CyberStart challenges.

Learn more about the Field Manual in our blog.

Meet your new best friend - the search engine

Searching online for techniques or concepts you encounter in CyberStart is crucial to solving many of the challenges.

When the answer isn’t clear, you’ll need to think outside of the box and find different ways to tackle problems, so doing your own research is a must.

Even if you’re not planning to work in cyber security, learning how to solve problems through independent research is an impressive skill for any future role.

I was challenged to learn how to research and problem solve, and to persevere until I could solve a challenge. My knowledge of how computers work and how to exploit them grew tremendously.” - Karen, CyberStart player

How to track your progress and race against other players

Who said you have to fight cyber crime alone?

The Groups feature in CyberStart lets you create your own leaderboards to compete for points, track your progress and help one another push through the challenges.

From your Group, you’ll see your and your friends’ overall points in-game, as well as each time you solve a challenge or use a hint within the last two weeks.

You can add as many or as few people to your Group as you like, so get your friends to join, invite other players from the CyberStart Community or ask your teacher to create a Group with your whole class.

Want to get to grips with Groups? Read our blog to get started.

You’ve got the basics of CyberStart down, now it’s time to get playing! Jump into your first challenge by signing in or signing up for your free account. Don’t forget to see if you’re eligible for one of our programmes below to access all 200+ challenges and the entire Field Manual for free!

All of these programmes are entirely free, and feature CyberStart!

CyberStart America

What is it?

A fun programme developed to help you discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cyber security.

Who's it for?

13-18 year old high school students in the US only.

Awesome! How can I find out more?

Cyber FastTrack

What is it?

The fastest and most cost-effective route to a career in cyber security via free training and exclusive scholarship opportunities.

Who's it for?

College students in the US only.

Great! How can I find out more?

CyberStart Canada

What is it?

A free programme teaching cyber security to high school students in Canada through CyberStart's immersive learning platform.

Who's it for?

Students between the ages of 13-18 nationwide.

Nice! How can I find out more?