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King of the Hill
King of the hill overview
King of the hill overview

Be the first to hack into a machine, and then retain your presence by patching vulnerabilities to stop your foes from taking your position!

G
Written by Gonzo
Updated this week

What is "king of the hill"?

King of the Hill (KoTH) is a competitive hacking game where you play against up to 9 other hackers to compromise a machine and then patch its vulnerabilities to stop other players from gaining access. The longer you maintain your access, the more points you get.

Traditionally you are taught how to compromise a machine to claim ownership of it. TryHackMe provides plenty of content on how to do so. However, an often overlooked aspect of hacking is maintaining access and patching vulnerabilities.

KoTH inspires you to not only apply the knowledge gained from the content within the platform in a competitive, timed setting; KoTH also encourages the use of blue-team tactics to prevent others from using similar methods, such as those you employed to compromise the machine.

Read our KoTH blog post to learn about some tips and tricks for winning your first KoTH game!

The lobby system

The platform creates groups in the form of a lobby. These lobbies consist of a maximum of 10 participating players but can have spectators.

This means you can 1v1 or host a lobby to compete against a handful of your friends.

Creating your lobby

When creating a lobby, you will be given the option to specify whether or not the lobby will be private or public, as well as how soon the lobby will start (i.e., In an hour from now to allow time for public lobbies to become full) or for example, 15 minutes if you are creating a private lobby where you have already arranged with the members.

A unique invite link will be generated when you create a private lobby. You can share this link with the members you want to participate against. This is found under the "Settings" menu (top right) within the lobby. As a subscriber, you can choose what machine your lobby will use.

You can also invite "Spectators" to your lobby. They will be able to see the lobby as you see it, such as "King" changes, but it will interfere with the game.

See the "Creating a game" article for instructions on creating your private games.

Joining a public lobby

Don't have anyone at hand to play against? Fret not. TryHackMe creates public lobbies daily for you to join. Meanwhile, others may be in a similar situation - looking for members to compete against.

lobby-system

If a public lobby is looking for players, you can join and become a part of the lobby yourself.

The rules of the game:

To prevent cheating and ensure this game is realistic, everyone must then follow the rules:

  1. The machine should not be made unavailable (shutdown, firewall rules to stop all communication, all services terminated, machine botching, and similar)

  2. Only stop service if you can't patch it any other way. Services should remain available for "genuine users of the box" if possible.

  3. No modifying or removing flags.

  4. Do not attack, modify or stop the service on 9999

  5. Any DoS against the machine.

  6. No attacking other users.

  7. Scripts that automatically hack or harden the machine are forbidden

Lobbies are moderated to ensure fair play. Failure to abide by the rules will result in bans within the game mode or across the TryHackMe site.

How to play

Once the game begins, you will be provided with the machine's IP Address. You all have to compete with each other to attack. From now on, you will compete to become the king of the Hill.

After the lobby has started - the time which you have specified, the game will last for 60 minutes. The member with the most points at the end of the game, regardless of the amount of "King Changes" or the final king, wins!

Becoming king

After hacking into the machine and getting root access, you need to add your TryHackMe Username to /root/king.txt on the machine to become the latest "King".

It is then down to you to prevent your competitors from replacing your TryHackMe Username and becoming the new "King"; however, you must follow the rules.

How points are scored

There are two main methods of obtaining points. However, it should be noted that any points gained throughout the game are not persistent and will not be reflected on your TryHackMe profile - nor the next lobby you join. These two methods are the following:

Be king

The longer you have your TryHackMe Username in the /root/king.txt file, the more points you get. You obtain 10 points every minute you are the current "King." To obtain 10 points, you must be the current "King" for 60 seconds (1 full minute). If you are only the king for 50 seconds, you will not be awarded the 10 points, nor will the person who was "King" for the remaining 10 seconds of that minute.

Submit flags

There are multiple entries to the machine; some will have flags hidden throughout. The difficulty of how the value of the flag is obtained will stipulate the points you get for it. I.e., A harder to reach flag will grant more points than a flag that is easier to obtain.

Feedback and reporting issues

King of the Hill is an entirely new type of content on TryHackMe. While testing has been done, something will always crop up.

We welcome suggestions to improve the game mode or any issues you're experiencing on our feedback page!

What if I suspect a player of cheating?

If you suspect a player of cheating or rule-breaking, email [email protected] the game ID (shown in the URL) and the Player's Username if possible. We can investigate...

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