Hacker Trivia Night

Hack the planet. Frag the man. Free the world.

A gamified computer education event awarding cash donations to community beneficiaries in need.

Pwn the night and win cash prizes for your beneficiary!

Hacker Trivia Night is an engaging, educational, and fun online event benefiting local charities, small businesses, and neighborhood community groups in the form of a beginner-friendly hacking and cybersecurity game that anyone can play.

Form a team with your friends, declare your beneficiary, and log on when the next game starts to win cash prizes from a pool of donations that goes to support those in need.

♥ Donate now Become a Beneficiary ⚑ Play now

Demo animation showing gameplay.

Recent donations

How does Hacker Trivia Night work?

Hacker Trivia Night is a recurring crowdfunding campaign that combines gamified cybersecurity education and training with charitable cash giveaways supporting small businesses, local community organizations, and neighborhood groups in need.

Here’s how the fundraiser works in a nutshell:

  1. Donors: Kind-hearted people contribute funds to create a prize pool for each Hacker Trivia Night competition.
    (We run competitions as often as we can, given the donations we collect.)

    Donate now

  2. Beneficiaries: Local businesses or community organizations in need apply to become beneficiaries of an upcoming competition.
    (Applying is free and approval is subject to sensible restrictions; we only select beneficiaries that do not undermine worker organizing, women’s rights, or other social justice efforts.)

    Become a Beneficiary

  3. Players: Anyone who wants to play and learn can declare their beneficiary when they register their team.
    (Games are free to play, scored in real-time, and are welcoming to beginners. Watch a short demo animation to see what gameplay is like.)

    ⚑ Click here to play ⚑

Prize money from the pool of collected donations is then divided and distrubted among the top-performing teams’s declared beneficiaries. Learn more about:


Anyone who can afford to do so is encouraged to donate to the Hacker Trivia Night prize pool that will go to support the campaign’s beneficiaries.

Donate now

  1. Donating via well-known payment platforms like PayPal makes the donation process secure, easy, and reliable.
    • We never get access to your payment information so there is no risk we can ever lose control of it.
    • PayPal fees are lower than many crowdfunding platforms, so more money ends up in the hands of beneficiaries.
  2. Watch the prize pool grow as more good samaritans such as your friends, neighbors, and community members donate.
    • We publish real-time updates about collected donations received and payouts sent to beneficiaries to ensure funds are managed in a trusted, transparent manner. Learn more.
  3. Optionally, play in the next game for a fun, engaging way to level-up your cybersecurity skillz while helping get money to local organizations in need!

Donate now


Beneficiaries are groups or organizations who are doing awesome things. Our definition of “awesome” is quite loose; beneficiaries can be any local business, non-profit group, or other organization that has registered with us and that we believe shares our pro-social values. Not sure if you qualify? Don’t stress! Applying is free.

Become a Beneficiary

Here’s how to get money by participating in Hacker Trivia Night:

  1. Apply to become a Hacker Trivia Night beneficiary.
    • We require beneficiaries to register in order to ensure that donated funds go to those for whom the support is intended.
    • You can submit your application at any time, regardless of the current game’s theme or status.
    • Applications are processed in batches, so you may not hear from us immediately. Please be patient!
  2. Respond as quickly as you can to any additional inquiries we have during the confirmation process.
    • We will eventually need more information than we ask for initially, such as payout information.
      (We only maintain payout information for confirmed beneficiaries, not all applicants.)
  3. Inform your community via email, social media, and word-of-mouth that you are participating in Hacker Trivia Night when you are selected.
    • Hacker Trivia Night competitions are typically themed, so you will most likely be selected as a beneficiary in a group with similar types of beneficiaries.
  4. Enlist champions to form teams to compete on your behalf.
  5. Collect prize money after the game if any teams competing on your behalf have won.
    • The exact amount depends on the donations received from donors and the results of the game, of course.

Become a Beneficiary


Beginners (“newbies”) are welcome and encouraged to play! You can’t be l33t if you don’t try! If you’re looking to level up your hacking skills, visit TechLearningCollective.com to learn how you can participate in our next computer security training workshop, on which many in-game challenges are based.

Here’s how to win money for your chosen beneficiary:

  1. Register on our game website:
    • Enter your name and an email address to identify yourself.
    • Form a team with others by entering additional names and email addresses when you register.
      (To play by yourself, make a team with only one player.)
    • Choose a team name, password, and emblem.
      (Give your team password to your teammates. Your teammates can then join you by logging in using the team name and the team password.)
  2. Declare a beneficiary when you register so that your earnings are donated to the group you want to support:
    • To declare a beneficiary, include one “player” account bearing your beneficiary’s name and email address. Double-check your spelling!
      (You can declare more than one beneficiary, in which case your portion of any winnings will be evenly split among the beneficiaries you declared.)
  3. Earn points by working with your teammates to find answers to the “hacker trivia” questions and solutions to the challenge puzzles:
    • Consider setting up a private chat room or video conference with your teammates ahead of time so that you can collaborate more effectively and earn more points faster.
      We recommend Jitsi Meet (or any of these additional Jitsi Meet instances).
  4. Compete against the other teams to score more points faster than they do before the game clock counts down to zero.
    • You can sometimes earn bonus points simply by being the first team to solve a particular challenge.
    • Harder challenges are worth more points, but don’t let another team overtake you simply by solving many easier challenges as you grind away on a difficult task!
    • You can pay for hints with points you’ve earned from solving previous challenges, but be mindful not to pay for more hints than you can afford!
  5. You win if your team has the most points when the game clock hits zero.
    • Winning teams earn their declared beneficiaries prizes in the form of cash donations.
    • In the case of a tied score, the team with the most correct answers wins.
      (If multiple teams are still tied, the team who answered those questions correctly the fastest will be declared the winner.)

Ready to hack for great justice?

⚑ Click here to play ⚑

Still have questions? Read the game rules and check out the FAQ.

Next Hacker Trivia Night Theme

  • May 29, 2020 3:00 PM May 31, 2020 6:00 PM
  • https://ctf.techlearningcollective.com/
  • Status: CONFIRMED

Tickets are no longer available for this event because the event has passed.

Join us for our first Hacker Trivia Night supporting beneficiaries in the food (and drink) service industry!

One of the hardest-hit sectors of New York City’s economy has been bars and restaurants. Restaurants and bars have been forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving hundreds of thousands if not millions of food service workers struggling to make rent.

Due to years of neglect and defunding by state and federal policies, New York’s unemployment systems crashed and were unavailable for weeks on end, leaving workers unable to even file for benefits, much less actually receive them when they were needed. And even after enlisting help from tech giants like Google, unemployed residents still describe the situation as a “living nightmare” and “kafkaesque mess,” reporting delays, backlogs, and even cases where the system leaked applicants’ social security numbers to strangers.

Meanwhile, although government officials have temporarily ceased evictions on paper, many landlords have moved to evict tenants anyway. At the same time, property owners are receiving mortgage relief but renters are still expected to pay rent, and medical debt collections have continued unabated even while health insurers lobby for federal aid while telling investors their business are not negatively impacted by the pandemic.

It all underscores the obvious design of existing governmental structures intended to get benefits to the rich while the poor and working class pay for the privileges corporations and billionaires are so “free” to enjoy.

The struggling workers we are talking about are not merely numbers on a labor statistics report. They are our friends. So we’ve decided to debut Hacker Trivia Night as “Restaurant and Bar Worker’s Night” and award collected donations to food service industry workers.

Read more about the beneficiaries for this Hacker Trivia Night competition.

Donate now Donate anonymously

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Who’s behind this?

Hacker Trivia Night is a joint project by Tech Learning Collective and Shift-CTRL Space, in partnership with numerous beneficiaries.

Tech Learning Collective

Tech Learning Collective logo

Tech Learning Collective is an apprenticeship-based technology school for radical organizers headquartered in New York City that provides a security-first IT infrastructure curriculum to otherwise underserved communities and organizations advancing social justice causes.

Tech Learning Collective trains politically self-motivated individuals in the arts of hypermedia, Information Technology, and radical political practice. Individuals can sign up for intensive courses, one-off webinar workshops, or private trainings.

Tech Learning Collective regularly hosts free, donation-based, and low-cost computer training events; check out the Tech Learning Collective event calendar and sign up for a workshop today!

Shift-CTRL Space

Shift-CTRL Space logo

Shift-CTRL Space is a community group based in Queens, NY ambitiously cultivating autonomy in our neighborhoods. We connect grassroots organizations, nonprofits, and community members with free resources on technology, including info sessions, educational materials, and workshops.

We are also known for running some really rad queer hacker parties. ;)


Hacker Trivia Night would not be possible without the generous support of donors like you.

Why are you doing this?

The short version

We miss our local bars and clubs (and many others who are struggling), so we decided to do something about it. We made our own classic bar trivia game, hyperlinked in to the 21st century. Thus, Hacker Trivia Night was born!

The long version

At both Tech Learning Collective and Shift-CTRL Space, our mission is to empower and educate community members and advocacy groups with knowledge of digital safety best practices, including cybersecurity preparedness, Internet privacy, and digital security.

Many people and local businesses are struggling to survive due to a combination of factors. The obvious and longstanding failures of federal, state, and municipal governments to fight back against murderous greed on the part of corporations and well-to-do property owners is high on this list of factors.

Bars, nightclubs, and other venues where we socialize and create community have been forced to close, leaving many in our immediate community without necessary social support structures. But even in bleak times like these, it’s important to have some fun.

We wanted some way to have fun while simultaneously helping our friends and neighbors. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, since we can no longer go out to their brick-and-mortar venues to see them, we figured we would find a way to invite them to join us at our venue: the Internet.

What better way to come together as a community while at the same time having fun and fulfilling our mission of empowering local community members with necessary cybersecurity knowledge and training?

Hacker Trivia Night is our latest attempt at punching above our weight. We’re a small group of New York City residents who believe we can be a lot more than the sum of our parts if we work together to support those nearest and dearest to us: our fellow New Yorkers.