BSides St. John's - Trace Labs OSINT CTF for Missing Persons

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Capital Hotel, St. John's, Newfoundland

208 Kenmount Road

St. John's, NL A1B 3P2


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Event description
In partnership with BSides St. John's, Trace Labs will be onsite at the event running the OSINT CTF for Missing Persons.

About this Event

Please note that you must be onsite at BSides St. John's Conference as an conference attendee to participate.

Trace Labs is a Not-For-Profit organization whose mission is to crowdsource the collection of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) to generate new leads on active missing persons investigations.

The missing persons issue is getting worse and requires modern and scalable solutions at various levels to help mitigate risk to society. These CTF events allow missing persons to receive the attention that is needed early in the search process.

Contestants will be given the opportunity to participate in the CTF as individuals or teams up to 4 people. This CTF is special as it is non theoretical and involves real missing persons. Contestants fo this OSINT CTF will be learning and practising their OSINT skills in the real world with real people. Their efforts will then be submitted to the respective law enforcement whose looking for the subjects.


For this CTF, contestants can participate as either a Solo Team or a team of up to 4.

Instructions for Forming a Team:

1. When registering for this CTF, either join an existing team, or create a new team

2. When creating a new team, you will have to set a password on it, and provide that password to any individuals who want to join your team

3. If joining an existing team, you will need to type in the team name in the "Join A Team" field on the register page and enter the password of that team

4. One day prior to the CTF start, registered contestants will be e-mailed a registration link to be on boarded to the CTF platform

How does the CTF work?

For this CTF, 8 missing persons cases will be selected for contestants to collect OSINT on to generate new leads.

This isn't a typical "Theoretical CTF" where the flags are already known. All flags found by contestants are treated as new intelligence that can serve as a potential lead for an active missing persons investigation.

At the start of the event, contestants will be able to view the 8 missing persons case details by logging into the CTF platform at with their own credentials (Registration e-mail to be sent one day prior to the CTF for those who have pre-registered).

For each "OSINT Flag" submitted on one of the missing persons that falls into any of the categories listed here, the flag will be validated by one of our Judges prior to awarding points.

Please also review our CTF rules here for first time contestants.

1st Place Prizes:

At the end of the CTF, the team with the most points on the scoreboard will claim first prize of:

In addition to prizes provided by BSides St. John's, 1st place winners will receive 4 licenses for Hunchly, courtesy of Trace Labs

How to Prepare for the Event

1. Review Trace Labs training video(s)

2. Have a personal laptop ready to use

  • Note: it is highly recommended to not use a work laptop

3. Get on boarded to our OSINT CTF platform

  • You will be e-mailed a link to register on the CTF platform one day prior to the event.
  • The registration e-mail will originate from "" with the subject line "Set New Password On Your Trace Labs Missing CTF Account"

4. Join our slack group here

  • All event communications will take place in our #bsides-stjohn's19 channel in our slack group so please do sign up prior!

5. Our Secondary method of communication is via our Twitter

6. Prepare Your "Work Environment" ahead of time to help you stay anonymous when gathering OSINT on the missing persons at the event. While this is not mandatory, it is good OpSec.

  • Recommended to use a virtual machine or run a Linux distribution such as Buscador
  • Buscador is a Linux distribution built specifically for OSINT investigations that comes with several pre-installed OSINT tools
  • An installation guide for Buscador can be found here:
  • Windows and MacOS operating systems will work as well, but you will be responsible for configuring/installing your own tools
  • Setup your browsers and plugins such as EXIF Viewer plugins.
  • Use a VPN or use TOR. You likely want to hide your trail.
  • Setup burner social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, etc.) - Not recommended to be logged into your own personal social media account when viewing profiles of missing persons

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at

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Capital Hotel, St. John's, Newfoundland

208 Kenmount Road

St. John's, NL A1B 3P2


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