Student Competitions

Annual Cybersecurity Games Expands Opportunities for High School Students

The 12th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Week (CSAW) is expanding the opportunities for high school students to get involved with webinars in advance and self-guided online education modules that they can use to prepare for the High School Forensics Challenge, one of six contests for college and high school students to participate in.

By the time the event takes place November 12-14 at the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering in Brooklyn, nearly 20,000 students from around the world will have participated in preliminary online contests in an effort to reach the finals, which will be attended by hundreds of students.

In the High School Forensics Challenge, contestants rack up points in a game show-style challenge that culminates in a murder mystery. Students work in teams of up to three (plus a mentor) to identify and analyze electronic evidence related to a crime. In the online preliminaries, they choose from categories including network analysis, mobile forensics, live system forensics, steganography and file carving, answering questions to earn points.

The 10 teams with the most points will receive expense-paid trips to New York to compete in the CSAW Murder Mystery finals. More than $450,000 in scholarships will be awarded to high school winners alone.

CSAW is the largest student-run cyber security event in the nation, featuring an industry conference and career fair, in addition to the competitions.

Besides the high school contest, other competitions include:

  • The Embedded Systems Security Contest, in which students address the real-world insecurities of digital voting as they research how the vote tally of an encrypted system could be corrupted;
  • A Capture the Flag hacking contest where 15 undergraduate teams from the United States will participate in the final competition, a 36-hour software hackfest;
  • A competition in which graduate students whose research has already been published will compete for the distinction of the Best Applied Research Paper;
  • The Policy Competition, in which entrants debate one of the most controversial issues in information security: Should government institute bug bounties like tech companies already employ;
  • Finally, the fast-paced game show-like Homeland Security Quiz will focus on control systems.

Featured speakers will include Brendan Hannigan, general manager of IBM Security, and Neil Herschfield of the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response.

More than 20 of the most prestigious tech companies will be on hand to talk to finalists about internships and paid positions at their companies.

Sponsors for the NYU CSAW who make it possible for all the finalists to travel to the New York competition include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, IBM, Facebook and Qualcomm, among many others.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.