This past month, the SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge wrapped up a six-month long program and competition intended to educate and prepare the nation’s next generation of cybersecurity professionals. Organized and backed by Securing Our eCity Foundation, National Defense Industrial Association, National University and Circadence, the Challenge provided high school and middle school students the opportunity to learn and practice cyber skills using a gamified, persistent training platform, Project Ares®.
More than 500 students from across five counties in Southern California participated in the Challenge that began September 2017. After two Practice Rounds and a highly-competitive Qualification Round, 14 teams of 5-8 student competitors made it into the Finals held on March 24th, 2018, at the Supercomputer Center at UCSD.
The competition kicked off with a Digital Forensics challenge, during which Varsity students rushed to investigate an on-site “crime scene” for physical evidence. Varsity competitors presented their physical evidence in exchange for digital evidence, which was then used to unlock and complete forensic tasks built into Project Ares as a Battle Room. Both JV and Varsity completed the digital forensics Battle Rooms and were simultaneously tasked with executing Project Ares’ Mission 12: Operation Bold Hermit. This was a complex incident response mission involving OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities affecting a satellite communications system.
Cyberattacks are some of the biggest threats facing many of the nations in the world today, and the demand for qualified cybersecurity workforce professionals has been made clear. Circadence is proud to lead the way towards real change by re-imagining cybersecurity education and delivering hands-on, gamified, technical opportunities to students at all levels of proficiency.
The students who participated developed a love for the profession, with many of the winners stating their intent to continue their studies into college and the workplace. It is part of Circadence’s mission to successfully educate, train, and augment the cyber warriors of the future, and sponsoring hackathons and challenges such as the SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge is an important part of that mission.
Congratulations to The Cambridge School and Del Norte High School for winning 1st place in their respective divisions, Junior Varsity and Varsity. Both schools took home $6,000 Grants to further cybersecurity programming on campus. We look forward to their continued success stories. Click here to see the winners interviewed by local news station, KUSI.