CyberPatriot: Developing Talent to Solve Tomorrow’s Cybersecurity Challenges

Written by: Francesco Trama | Published on: February 19th, 2016

About The Author

Francesco Trama
As Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Francesco is responsible for the overall operating performance, leading the strategic direction of the company’s products and solutions internally while building technical and business credibility externally as a market-facing thought leader.

We were thrilled to host students from Riverview High School at PacketViper Headquarters a few weeks ago for the state level of the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.

PacketViper is proud to support the students of Riverview High School and their teacher, Dr. Michael McNally, in this prestigious, nationally recognized Network Security Competition.  In cooperation with PacketViper, Riverview high school students formed two teams to participate in the challenging CyberPatriot event, and both teams completed successful seasons.

The state-level competition took place on Friday, January 29th, and results are now in. Riverview’s Silver Tier team, consisting of Jerry Lyons, Kyle Moore, Liam Murray, Ian Kobal, Andy Galata, and Owen Shields, placed first in the state of Pennsylvania, finishing well ahead of the nearest PA competitors.  Nationally, the silver tier team was ranked 57th out of 267 teams competing in their division across the country.  The Gold Tier team, also sponsored by PacketViper and consisting of Ben Rushin, Brian Rossi, Lavinia Falck, Julia Burton, and Alex Gourley, finished with a 3rd place ranking in PA with a score of 244 points, and was only 6 points out of first place in the state.  Furthermore, the Gold Team finished ahead of almost 600 teams across the nation.

Both the Silver and Gold teams’ participation was possible due to support from local cybersecurity firm PacketViper, and both have qualified to advance to the Regional Championships for the first time in Riverview’s history in the competition.  The regionals will take place this weekend, from February 19th to the 21st.  The top three teams in each region will be recognized and receive special certificates for their performance.

CyberPatriot is an initiative of the Air Force Association (AFA), and was brought about to inspire high school students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, particularly cybersecurity. According to a recent report by Microsoft, titled Cyberspace 2025: Today’s Decisions, Tomorrow’s Terrain, “in 2025 there will be nearly five billion people online and more than 50 billion connected devices. However, by that time, emerging economies will produce 16 million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates annually…this skills gap, defined by the need in developed countries for appropriately skilled workers, will set the stage for fierce economic competition for technology talent.” Clearly, developing talent in these areas is key to the future of our nation. Furthermore, increased reliance on internet-connected devices indicates that vulnerabilities to cyber-crime will continue to escalate, dramatically increasing the risks and raising the stakes related to maintaining the device and network security.

Congratulations to the Riverview High School CyberPatriot team for a job well done at the competition. We’ll be rooting for you at the regional competition! Go Raiders!

How can we prepare tomorrow’s innovators to solve the cybersecurity challenges of the future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.