Cyber Security heads to state championships

After a fourth-place finish in national championships, Cyber Security Club competed in a statewide competition called Governor’s Cup on April 12.

Teams from Marshall took all of the top three spots in the competition, and made up seven of the eight teams present.

“We—team one—and the Marshall teams competing in the Virginia championship [were] extremely motivated to win, because for some of us it’s our last year, and our last chance to win,” senior Charles Franks said.

Franks’s team took second place despite missing two members.

In competitions, each team is given a virtual computer that has flaws and vulnerabilities in its security, which the team must find and fix in a given amount of time.

“You’ve got a system that has … security flaws, like you have a username that nobody’s used that has no password, so anyone that could figure out that username could just log in,” computer systems teacher and supervisor Jason Simeon said.

Governor’s Cup also included additional challenges.

“What makes it different from qualifiers is that our network will be under attack by what is known as the red team, and they will be trying to take down our critical services,” senior Kyle Hammerschmidt said.

The competition also included a challenge sponsored by Cisco that simulated a network of computers linked together.

“It was created by top professionals employed by Cisco so it was incredibly challenging,” Franks said.

While the team expected a first-place spot at the national competition, they couldn’t be sure how the competition would play out.

“We were expecting to do a little better [than last year], but every year they change the competition pretty drastically,” Simeon said.

However, this is only the team’s third year in competition, and they have placed very high for such a young team.

“It really speaks to the dedication of the students,” Simeon said. “They put in a lot of time … and they’ve pioneered most of the content.”