A team of Delaware Area Career Center students recently took 10th place in a college cybersecurity contest.
Westerville South High School junior Adrian Self and Big Walnut High School junior Andrew Beaver made up the team from the Delaware Area Career Center’s Cybersecurity program that participated in the fifth annual MITRE Embedded Capture the Flag Competition.
In the competition, teams receive a stripped down mp3 player, like an iPod, which they have to design a security system for. The hardware and the team’s security system was sent to the other teams, all from colleges and universities, who spent a month attacking the security systems attempting to play illegal music on the device.
The teams are scored based on how many “flags” they can retrieve from other devices and how well their own system is defended.
In January, Self said MITRE is a contractor who works on cybersecurity for the U.S. Department of Defense, and the competition has many real world applications.
“Just like in the real world, we have to make it usable and secure at the same time,” Self said in January. “During the attacking phase, the other teams will have full access to all of our code. We can’t rely on them missing any part of it that we’ve left insecure. If we can attack it, we expect they can as well. We’re trying to design an actually secure system.”
Eli Cochran, the cybersecurity instructor at the DACC, said the teams participated in the competition in spite of the school closure by taking the computers and boards home and working on them remotely.
Cochran said he was excited to see the students do so well in their first year of competition and against only college students.
“(I felt) ecstatic,” Cochran said in an email. “The unofficial scoreboard was showing up in a tie for 12th with four other colleges. With some last minute points, we bumped up in the scoreboard.”
The DACC’s team took 10th place out of the 20 teams that participated.
Cochran said the competition helped the team gain valuable skills.
“They learned about working collaboratively, working on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), working in Linux, documentation of a project, meeting deadlines, and working remote at the end,” he said. “All of these skills are skills they need to have when entering the workforce.”
Cochran added this was the first team for the DACC in the competition, and it won’t be the last.
“Yes, we will be entering again next year,” Cochran said.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.