Fast track your cybersecurity career for free

Try your luck in a two-day Capture the Flag for the chance to win a $22k scholarship with the SANS Technology Institute

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Spring intake closed on March 22.
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What is Cyber FastTrack?

Cyber FastTrack is the SANS Institute’s free cybersecurity competition, designed to accelerate college students’ entry into the profession by offering scholarships worth $22k.

Take part in a two-day online Capture the Flag (CTF) and test your knowledge across a variety of security disciplines. Whether competing for a scholarship or playing for fun, reverse, hack and decrypt your way through challenges built by industry experts!

Prove yourself by landing among the top scorers and you’ll be invited to apply for a scholarship to study at the SANS Technology Institute. Build and prepare everything you need for a successful cybersecurity career, as you gain access to 4 SANS immersion courses and 3 industry-recognized GIAC certifications for free!

Before Cyber FastTrack, I hadn't considered a career in cybersecurity. The program helped me discover I had an aptitude for cybersecurity and I am now working as an Information Security Analyst and love it!

Kathleen Bodi, 2019 Scholarship Winner

Who should take part in Cyber FastTrack?

Whether you're still working on your degree or have recently graduated - you can take part in Cyber FastTrack! You don't need any prior cybersecurity experience, just a passion and enthusiasm to take on our challenges. There is nothing stopping you using this intake as a practice. Why not play this intake to identify your strengths and weaknesses in cybersecurity, so that you can build your skills in the areas you need and come back to the next intake, ready to win!

Please note, although anyone can take part in CFT, there are specific criteria to win the full scholarship.
Find out more in our FAQ.

Try our open CTF event

Whether you participated in our last CTF or are new to Cyber FastTrack, we have a series of open events for you to replay the last Cyber FastTrack CTF. Solve the challenges you couldn't before or use this content to get ahead for the next competition! Head over to our CTF platform and be one of the first 5000 people to use the code below to gain access.

Copy this code and sign up with the link below red-wave
Sign in

If this event is full, check back here next week where a new code will be released for you to play!

Since Cyber FastTrack I've had more confidence when applying for technical, security-focused roles. I can't wait until I land my first position and can use the skills I've learned from the program to help solve actual real-world problems.

Jenni Peavler, 2019 Scholarship Winner

Take on the challenge

Test your security skills in an intense two-day Capture the Flag created by experts at the SANS Technology Institute.

Evaluate your skills across various security disciplines

During the competition, your knowledge will be tested across many security topics. Are you a binary exploitation expert? Maybe forensics is your forte? Whatever your background knowledge and experience, there will be fun challenges exploring topics from offensive, reversing and crypto!

Race to the top of the leaderboard

The competition takes the format of a jeopardy style event with challenges organized into difficulty categories. Target the advanced challenges for higher points or solve our easy challenges to get a score on the board. Whatever your technique, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your position on our live leaderboard.

Play on our unique Capture the Flag platform

Immerse yourself in our Tomahawque platform where for 48 hours you will be addicted to the leaderboard, engrossed by our unique challenge briefings and earn yourself progress badges!

No. of players from spring intake

CFT players

Top scoring players from spring intake

CFT podium

For a deeper look, visit the

Hall of Fame

Apply for a scholarship

During 2020, 100 top-performing eligible students will win a scholarship to study at the SANS Technology Institute.

Learn from a world leader in cybersecurity education

While studying at the SANS Technology Institute, you'll investigate issues that affect complex and interconnected IT systems, learn to combat common threats to valuable data, and emerge with hands-on skills employers are seeking.

Flexible learning

Earn your undergraduate cybersecurity certificate in 18 to 24 months while working full-time or pursuing a degree. Or choose an accelerated option to finish in less than a year! Complete the program entirely online or through a mixture of online courses and in-person events across the country. The choice is yours.

Complement your degree

The whole Cyber FastTrack program and the resulting scholarship can be completed alongside your existing studies and commitments, so there is nothing to lose by signing up and giving it your best!

CyberStart laptop
CyberStart student

Think carefully about which intake you want to compete in. If you're successful, you must take your scholarship in line with your intake date. The program has three intakes, so you have three opportunities to gain a scholarship! Scroll down to check the dates.

Program dates

There are three chances to take part in 2020

Spring 2020

Register: February 10 - March 22

CTF: March 26 (00:00 UTC) - March 27 (23:59 UTC)

Scholarship Application Phase: April 2 - April 30

Scholarships Announced: June 1

SANS.edu Program Begins: July 1

Summer 2020 - OPEN NOW

Join us this Summer so you can enroll in the SANS Technology Institute in late 2020.

Winter 2020

Join us in November so you can enroll in the SANS Technology Institute in early 2021.

Your questions answered

What is the criteria to be eligible for a scholarship?

While all students can participate in the Capture the Flag for fun, to be eligible for the full scholarship to the SANS Technology Institute you must be:

  • 18 or older on February 10, 2020.
  • A US Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • A current student (or recent graduate*) of a regionally accredited college or university and have completed at least 48 college credits.

Students who are previous recipients of a Cyber FastTrack or other SANS Institute scholarships may participate in the Capture the Flag but are not eligible to receive the 2020 scholarship.
* Within the past 24 months.

What equipment will I need?

To take part in the CTF, you'll need access to a laptop or desktop with a Virtual Machine (VM) installed. We'd recommend downloading a VM on to your machine and checking it works before the CTF opens so you're prepared.

How do you determine who gets a scholarship?

After the CTF competition, we will invite the top-performing, eligible students to complete a scholarship application. We will review applications holistically looking not only at scores from the CTF but also academic history, responses to application questions, and the potential impact the scholarship could have on a student’s career. If you aren’t selected in this intake, don’t give up! Come back and try again in the next round.

When does the Capture the Flag (CTF) start?

You will have 48 hours to complete the challenges in the CTF beginning at 00:00 (UTC) on March 26. Make sure to check how 00:00 (UTC) converts to your local time zone. For example, on the east coast the CTF will begin at 8:00 pm on March 25.

How can I prepare for the CTF?

There are many free resources available on the Internet to improve your cybersecurity skills. We will be recommending our preferred resources on our blog and social media throughout 2020, so follow us for the most up-to-date information!

Cyber FastTrack has been my first opportunity to practice some of the technical concepts hands on.

Alex Baker, 2019 Scholarship Winner

About us

Cyber FastTrack is a free, online program created by experts at the SANS Institute, the most trusted provider for information security training, cybersecurity certifications, and research. The program exists to ensure thousands of students have the opportunity to enter the cybersecurity industry.

Our mission

To rapidly eliminate the cybersecurity skills gap in the United States by providing scholarships for students with an innate talent for cybersecurity to study at the SANS Technology Institute.

Our impact so far

  • Over 15,000 students have taken part in Cyber FastTrack.
  • 200 students have each received $500 in scholarships.
  • 100 students have each received a full scholarship to study the undergraduate certificate in Applied Cybersecurity at the SANS Technology Institute.

During 2020

  • 100 students will receive a full scholarship worth $22,000.
  • A total of $2.2 million in scholarships will be awarded.
  • We are running three intakes, so even more students can take part.
CFT rocket taking of on its mission

About the SANS Technology Institute

Founded in 2005, the SANS Technology Institute is the independent, regionally-accredited, VA-approved subsidiary of SANS, the world's largest and most trusted provider of cybersecurity training, certification, and research. Offering graduate and undergraduate programs at the cutting edge of cybersecurity, SANS is strengthening the cyber workforce through a career-focused curriculum built on proven SANS courses and industry-recognized GIAC certifications.

If you require any help or further information please email
hello@cyber-fasttrack.org and we'll be happy to help.