Defining Difficulty

Quick Rant

What you find "hard", other people may find "easy" and vice versa.
It all depends on your background experience. What have you been expose to previously. This defines your current skill level.

To expand your skill set, you need to be able to solve problems.
A very handy skill to learn, is to how to troubleshoot correctly.

Which soon turns towards how to "Search the Internet" efficiently.
(Which may sound like an old joke, but the amount of times people who will say "Ive tried/searched everything", which may end up be a single too generic/Pacific phrase and clicked the first link (or skimmed over the first three), without reading the manual/documentation as they would rather watch on YouTube.

There is also a lot of trying. A lot of failing. A lot of repeating. A lot of experimenting.
...If there wasn't, it would not be fun. You wouldn't learn anything. You wouldn't improve.

With all of this being said, its not easy to define what a challenge should be set at. Below is our take on the matter.
This doesn't mean its correct. Hopefully it can help.

Something to keep in mind, over time, the difficulty may change. This could be because there are tools developed to make it easier, new techniques discovered, as well as unintentional vectors found.

And we are working on adding this into a filter/search on the main site, when v2 is launched (No ETA).

Very Easy

Vulnerability types:

  • Brute force
  • No information needs to be gathered (able to guess) about the target
  • Singe vector for completing the machine
  • Software exploits where code is suitable out of the box (no modifications/alterations required) (e.g. SearchSploit/Metasploit-Framework)
  • SQL injection
Often no need to escalate privileges, as already as the highest user (root access) when getting initial access


Vulnerability types ("Very Easy" as well as the following):

  • Command injection
  • File inclusions
  • Hash cracking
  • Kernel exploits for privilege escalation
  • Very little amount of information needs to be gathered about the target
A single exploit to get initial access, another single exploit for privilege escalation


Vulnerability types ("Very Easy + Easy" as well as the following):

  • Cross-Site scripting
  • Multiple vectors
  • Software exploits where code requires some modifications/alterations for it to work (e.g. SearchSploit)
  • System administrator knowledge
  • Privilege escalation is required
In order to get root access, you may need to use a few vulnerabilities (short chain)


Vulnerability types ("Very Easy + Easy + Medium" as well as the following):

  • Encryption
  • Harden/Defense enabled on the Operating System
  • No public software exploits
  • Pivoting
  • Time-based challenge limitations
In order to get initial & root access, having to chain multiple vulnerabilities (long chain)

Very Hard

Vulnerability types ("Very Easy + Easy + Medium + Hard" as well as the following):

  • The Unknown
In order to get initial & root access, having to chain multiple vulnerabilities in various different ways