The Atlantic Council’s fourth annual Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge was held March 11-12 with 40 teams competing for the best national security policy prescriptions to counter cyber conflict scenarios.
College student competitors came from various universities including Arizona State University, Brown University, Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, John Hopkins University, Stanford University, Tufts University, and the National Defense University.
The winner in 2016 was Team Fightin’ Electrons from Air University. Second place was awarded to T3am 3lit3 from National Intelligence University. The third and fourth place teams were from the U.S. Naval Academy and Team AU Cybernaughts from American University.
The Atlantic Council said the challenge is the only major student competition devoted to national security policy recommendations for responses during a major cyber incident. It also uses a group of senior-level cybersecurity practitioners from government, finance, telecom, and the press as judges.
“Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge gives students interested in cyber conflict policy an opportunity to interact with expert mentors, judges, and cyber professionals while developing valuable skills in policy analysis and presentation,” the council said in a statement.
Judges for 2016 included David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent of the New York Times; Steven Chabinsky, senior vice president of legal affairs and Chief Risk Officer at CrowdStrike; retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, president and CEO of Business Executives for National Security and former Chief of Staff of the US Air Force; Rosemary Wenchel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Coordination at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Roberta Stempfley, Director of Cybersecurity Implementation at the MITRE Corporation; James Attwood, British Defence Staff at the British Embassy; William Wright, Director of Cybersecurity Partnerships at Symantec [SYMC]; Christopher Painter, Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the U.S. State Department; and Katherine Charlet, Principal Director of Cyber Policy at the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).
The student competitors were also allowed to engage in question and answer sessions with cyber experts like retired Maj. Gen. John Davis, senior military adviser for cyber to the under secretary of defense for policy; James Miller, former under secretary of defense for policy; and H.E. Sorin Ducaru, NATO assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges.
The challenge also involved engaging participants in a mock computer network exploitation exercise to show how methods generally used in the real world work when confronted with cyber attacks against governments and companies. This simulation was provided by Tom Parker of FusionX, a company specializing in simulating realistic cyberattacks.
The competition is also set to take place for the second time in Geneva, Switzerland on April 7-8, 2016. The second event is organized in collaboration with the Geneva Center for Security Policy. That conference will include 27 teams registered from Europe, the United States, and Iran.
The U.S. competition was made possible through support of Leidos, FireEye [FEYE], and Symantec, the Atlantic Council said. The venue was American University’s School of International Service.