Northeastern University reigns in new CyberForce Conquer the Hill competition
Newswise – Argonne announces the winner of the US Department of Energy’s latest CyberForce competition ahead of November’s main annual event.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) CyberForce® program held the second of its new series of competitions, Conquer the Hill, in September 18. Northeastern University’s Kyle Sferrazza won the Reign Edition of Conquer the Hill, competing against 45 participants.
Directed by DOEArgonne National Laboratory, CyberForce inspires and helps develop the next generation of cybersecurity experts in the energy sector. The Conquer the Hill Competitions are part of an expansion of the program this year to include more cyber competitions, webinars and career resources.
Critical infrastructure in the United States is increasingly dependent on the Internet, making security a high priority. But about 500,000 cybersecurity jobs were not filled from April 2020 until March, according to CyberSeek, a project of the National Initiative for Cyber Security Education. To fill this skills gap, CyberForce challenges college teams to build and defend a simulated energy infrastructure against cyber attacks. Hosted on site from 2016–2019, the competition has become virtual in 2020.
In 2021, CyberForce has expanded to include a series of mini-competitions, called Conquer the Hill competitions, which give students more opportunities to learn about cybersecurity topics and compete. During the Reign edition in September 18, a skirmish-based virtual mission tested participants’ skills with a timed flag capture competition. Sferrazza completed the multi-layered escape room in the shortest possible time and won his reign and title as Conqueror of the Hill. Cameron Whitehead of the University of Central Florida won the inaugural Conquer the Hill event, the Adventurer Edition, in July 18.
“By diversifying our competitions, we were able to develop the CyberForce program and accommodate the many different learning methods of students interested in cybersecurity careers, ”said Amanda Joyce, CyberForce Program Director and Head of the Cyber Security Analysis Group at Argonne.“This talent pool attracts increasing interest every year thanks to CyberForce. “
CyberForce started with eight competing teams in 2016 and grew to over 100 in 2019 before becoming a virtual event in 2020.
The next opportunity to compete will be the annual CyberForce ™ competition in November. 12–13, 2021. Each CyberForce competition focuses on an interactive, scenario-based event, where participants test their cyber defense skills in real time. In this year’s scenario, student teams will have to harden, secure and defend the information systems of a hydroelectric company, as well as one of its recently acquired subsidiaries.
Additionally, CyberForce is hosting a series of virtual challenges, monthly webinars and a virtual career fair in November. Also this fall, the team will launch the new CyberForce workforce portal, known as Cyber Aptitude, Skills, Training, and Learning Environment (CHATEAU). It will offer current and future cybersecurity students a chance to better understand their skills, view job sites, connect with various industry partners, and learn about upcoming events and training opportunities.
CyberForce now enables students to engage with cyber experts no matter where they live or where they are in their careers, from incoming freshmen to graduate students.
“The new Conquer the Hill competitions reflect the critical importance that DOE aims to bridge the gap in unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the US energy sector, ”said Puesh Kumar, Acting Deputy Principal Assistant Secretary of THIS SER.“The more programs and real-life experiences we can offer students, the more likely they are to pursue roles that help us protect our energy systems from growing cyber threats. “
To learn more about the CyberForce program, visit https: // cyber forcecom peti tion .com /.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to urgent national problems in science and technology. The country’s leading national laboratory, Argonne conducts cutting-edge fundamental and applied scientific research in virtually all scientific disciplines. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state, and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance U.S. scientific leadership, and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees over 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, SARL for the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy.
The Office of Science of the United States Department of Energy is the largest proponent of basic physical science research in the United States and strives to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https: // ener gy .gov / s c ience.