Siber Defense Club Places 4th in USA, in Russian Contest
The Siber Defense Club at Mount Si High School placed fourth in the USA among 23 teams worldwide in a recent online cyber security “Capture The Flag” (CTF) competition. The School-CTF contest is conducted annually by the University of Tomsk in Siberia, Russia. Because it takes place live 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Moscow time, the Mount Si team began competing at 11 p.m. PDT on Saturday night, November 4, and finished at 5 a.m. PST Sunday morning, November 5. (There was a time change for the USA in the middle when the nation went off daylight savings time.)
The contest consists of a list of difficult challenge tasks in categories that include cryptography, reverse engineering, websites, steganography, and passwords. This year, the Siber Defense Club at Mount Si High School consisted of only three participants for this particular contest, yet they beat out many other international and US teams with up to seven members.
Congratulations to sophomores Aayush Singh and Kian Cooney, and freshman Ben Schumacher for their performance in this contest.
Volunteer Mentor/Advisor Stephen Kangas, explained that this was “a reflection of their knowledge and skill. There was an exciting battle between Mount Si and Los Alamos High School (New Mexico) for fourth place, which ultimately was taken by Mount Si.”
The Mount Si High School Siber Defense Club in action, competing throughout the night
in the School-Capture the Flag contest hosted by the Univeristy of Tomsk in Siberia, Russia.
In a subsequent contest, the Siber Defense Club fielded two teams in the CyberPatriot contest put on by the Air Force Association. They completed Round 1 recently with good scores, and hope to qualify for the Washington State Round after Round 2 in December. The club participates in several other contests during the school year against both high school and university students.
The Siber Defense Club is open to all interested high school students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District. They learn basic and advanced cyber security defense and offense involving computer systems and networks; compete in the sport of online contests with other high schools across the USA and world during the school year; and teach friends and family about how to protect their smartphones, laptops, and home networks against malicious hackers. The club also goes on field trips to the University of Washington and the annual Pacific Rim Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition at Highline College (March 23-25, 2018). The club meets weekly after school on Thursdays, 2:30-4 p.m., in the main Mount Si High School Library. There is no fee to join or participate, and no prior experience is required. Attendees are recommended to bring their Windows, Apple, or Linux laptop.
The Siber Defense Club formed in 2016 at Mount Si High School, and last year’s team of seniors finished first in the USA, in the Russian Capture the Flag competition. They received a donation from Boeing which is being used toward this year’s contest entrance fees (CyberPatriot is $200 per team). According to Kangas, one of their goals is to provide Snoqualmie Valley students with opportunities that expose students to computer data communications networks and cyber security, which is fundamentally outside basic computer science and programming.