Got a question? Find the answer here

Registration and profile
9 questions

I’m having a problem choosing a password

Unlike many systems, our password policy is not easily defined. We rank your password based on a number of factors, including if your chosen password includes words in our known dictionary.

We recommend that you use a password manager, and a long, randomly generated password.

The password form will provide you with feedback, and you must fully light up all four sections in green for the password to be considered appropriate.

I have signed up but when I log in I'm told that my account is not verified

We need to verify that you have access to the email address that you registered with. If you have signed yourself up manually, we will have sent you an email with a link to complete the verification process.

If you have not received this email, try the forgotten-password option, which also sends an email, and will verify your email address in the process.

I have not received an account verification email

If you were invited to join ranges.io by email then you won't receive a verification email; the invitation is enough to verify, so you can skip that step.

If you signed up manually, check your email spam folder, as the email may have gone there by mistake. If you still can't find it, check that you definitely entered your email address correctly, and ensure that your email service is working.

What is a display name?

To protect our users' privacy, we do not display their real names in an event or on their profile. Instead, we allow you to choose a display name, which appears on the leaderboard.

To keep things simple, and prevent abuse, display names have a very restricted allowed character set. You can only choose from alphanumeric characters, upper case or lower case, A to Z, 0 to 9. No spaces or symbols are allowed. Display names are also unique in ranges.io.

Can I change my display name?

We currently do not allow display names to be changed by the user. However, you can email support@ranges.io from the email address that you registered with, and we would be happy to change it for you.

Can I change my email address?

Yes. Sign in and edit your profile here: /edit-profile

Note that the new and old email addresses will both receive a message confirming that the process has begun. The change will not be made until you have verified that you own the new email address.

I have two accounts. Can I merge them into one?

At the moment this is not possible, no.

Will my Tomahawque credentials work at ranges.io?

Yes. You can still use your Tomahawque credentials to sign in at ranges.io. If you use a password manager, you may want to update the website URL.

Where can I find the terms and conditions for ranges.io?

ranges.io is owned by SANS Institute, and the SANS Terms and Conditions apply to ranges.io accounts. You can find the SANS Terms and Conditions here.

Joining an event
10 questions

I didn't receive an event code

Only open events have an event code. You will be provided this by the event organizers. ranges.io cannot provide you with this code.

I was told to expect an email, but I didn't receive one

Please contact your event organizer and check that they invited the correct email address. ranges.io cannot reveal this information. Nor can we add you to the event; only the organizer can do so.

I received an email inviting me, but I can't see the event

Visit your dashboard at /my-events to see all upcoming and live events. If the event has already finished then it will appear in the finished events page, here: /my-events?filter=finished

If you did not accept your invitation before the event finished, you will not see it in these lists.

I missed the start of the event. Can I still join it?

This depends on the event. The organizers can choose to allow players to join late or not. You can try to join, and will see an appropriate error message if not.

I'm trying to join an event but it says that it's full

Organizers can configure an open event with a limit on how many players can join the event. If you are seeing this message then this limit has already been reached.

ranges.io cannot increase this limit for you or help you get into the event once this limit has been reached.

In some cases additional events will be organized later. Contact the organizers to find out more.

I've joined the event, but I just see a list of players, and nothing to do

You are seeing the event lobby. This is because the event has not yet begun. ranges.io events require the instructor to manually start the event, so sometimes they may not begin immediately on their scheduled start time.

If the countdown has reached zero, please wait for the event to begin. If it does not automatically start within a few minutes, you may try to reload the page.

I'm taking part in an open team event. How do I create a team?

You should see a button that allows you to Create team. After you have done so, you will have a code that you can share with your teammates so that they can join you.

How do I join someone else's team?

This is only possible if you are taking part in an open team event, which requires you to enter a code to join.

You will need to obtain the team's code from a team member, instructor, or other event staff. We do not provide a mechanism to communicate with other players within ranges.io itself, and you cannot request access.

Once you have the code, you have two options:

  1. If you are already in the event, you can click the Join team link for the team you wish to join, and enter the code here.
  2. If you have not yet joined the event, you can enter the team code on the Join event page. This will allow you to join the event and the team with a single code.

Note that there may be a maximum team size, and if your chosen team is already full, you will not be able to join it.

I didn't join a team before the event began. What happens now?

It depends on how the event has been configured by the organizers. If teams are required for the event, then you'll need to create or join a team before you can access the challenges. If the event has been configured to allow either teams or individuals, then you can choose to play as an individual or join a team.

The message when I joined the event contained some useful information. How do I get back to it?

This was the event's Code of Conduct. If the event has not yet started, you can view it again from within the upcoming event lobby. Click on the Code of Conduct link in the upper right of the event page and you will be presented with the same information.

If the event has already begun, you will see a similarly titled Event info & Code of Conduct link under the countdown in the top left.

Playing in an event
6 questions

I need to download some files for this challenge. Where do I get them from?

This will depend on the event in question.

In some cases, files have been uploaded directly to ranges.io, and you will be able to download them from the Event info & Code of Conduct before the event begins, or from within each individual challenge. These links will not work if shared outside of ranges.io.

Note that files could be used in multiple challenges. In this case, ranges.io indicates if you have already downloaded them once, so that you can save yourself time in downloading them again.

In other cases, the files have been uploaded to a third party service. The Event info & Code of Conduct may describe where to download them from, or it may be detailed in the challenge.

If you require additional assistance, please contact the event organizer, as ranges.io cannot provide links ourselves.

Some challenges are locked. How do I unlock them?

Depending on the event's mode, you or your team may need to complete a series of other challenges first. In other cases, challenges may unlock after a period of time.

If you are taking part in a Knockout event, only the first person (or team) to capture the flag can complete it, so these challenges will present themselves as locked to all other players.

What position am I in?

If you are in the top-ten, you will find your position on the leaderboard.

If you are not in the top-ten, we typically do not show your position until the event has finished. You will however be able to see your points and progress compared to the leaders.

I'm tied on points with another player, but we do not share the position. Why?

ranges.io ranks players using a number of factors. First and foremost, we look at your points total. The more points you have, the higher you'll rank on the leaderboard.

If there's a tie, then we turn to progress, which indicates how many challenges have been solved. Players and teams with lower progress would be ranked ahead of those with more progress. Why is this so? Because getting the same number of points with fewer completed challenges suggests that the player is on a course to perform better by the end.

If there's still a tie, we look at other factors: higher difficulty levels of challenges completed, fewer challenge attempts, and finally the first to achieve their given position.

I'm stuck on this challenge. How can I get help?

ranges.io does not provide challenge support for players. You will need to contact the event organizer. We recommend that they add support contact details to the Event info and Code of Conduct page.

If you are playing an event on-site, please talk to a member of staff.

Can I see the leaderboard if I'm not taking part in the event?

This is a configurable option for every event. If it has been configured as a public event, then yes you can. Contact the event organizer and request the address for the public leaderboard.

Note that ranges.io support cannot provide you with the address ourselves.

After an event
3 questions

Can I see how well I did in a finished event?

Yes. Return to the event in your finished events dashboard here: /my-events?filter=finished

You can see your final position on the leaderboard, and which challenges you did and didn't complete. We also display some event statistics, including how many badges we awarded in this event.

Can I replay the challenges from this event?

This would be at the discretion of the event organizer, and would usually require that they create another event and invite you back to it. ranges.io cannot provide you with access to challenges if the event is finished.

Can I publish a write-up of this event?

Without express authorization from the organizers, please do not share a write-up of the event. Many events re-use packages for new players, since the time and resources to create the package can be very high.

Because of this, and because some events are used as qualifiers for other events, or to identify areas for skills development, publishing write-ups can compromise the quality of the results.

We do encourage sharing your results, however, and similarly the opportunity to help teach others the skills that you may have learned during a ranges.io CTF. But please do not share details on how to precisely obtain the flags, or the flags themselves, without having been granted permission explicitly by the event organizer.

Please note that an event Code of Conduct may include additional information on write-ups, and should be considered to supersede this section.

2 questions

What web browsers does ranges.io support?

We aim to support all major modern browsers. That means that we test in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge.

We no longer support Internet Explorer. Using IE may work, but we have not tested it, and as such we do not recommend that you use it.

ranges.io will work on a mobile device, such as an Android or iOS phone or tablet. We do not recommend this for most CTFs, as you will not be able to perform some of the necessary challenges from a mobile device, and you may need to copy and paste data into ranges.io to capture the flag.

What is ranges.io?

ranges.io enables organizations to create and host cybersecurity competitions and deliver hands-on training and interactive exercises for students of all levels. The ranges.io platform is wholly owned and operated by SANS Institute.