Friday, Dec. 2, the CyberPatriot “Cobalt Crusaders” competed in the second round of their competition. Sam Burgess (12, Commander), Lois Agabon (11), Adam Cruz (12), Robert Isenhour (12), and Peter Myers (11) raced the clock against viruses, hackers, and LOLCats.
Run by the Airforce Association, the mission of the program is “to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.” Teams are given six hours to “repair vulnerabilities” in their hard drives, computers, and internet connections and return to safe running conditions.
The competition began with the members logging into the CyberNex team registration website at 4:45 P.M., and opening the “Virtual Machine” software. They were immediately shown a black screen informing them the website was “offline” and that it was “not secure to proceed.”
The team of Isenhour and Myers immediately downloaded multiple packs of “Microsoft Security Essentials,” removing seven insecurities within the first two hours, while Cruz and Agabon simultaneously attempted to determine where their problem lay. Their Google searches continuously redirected them to the webpage for “LOLCats.”
Burgess, a four-year member of the JROTC and a contender for the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, oversaw all operations.
“He’s a pretty cool guy,” Cruz said. “He was a good leader who gave us the freedom to do what we thought was right. He listened to all of our ideas, but when it came down to it, he helped us keep our eyes on our goals.”
Though Burgess led the team during competition, Dr. Corey King (mentor) and Mrs. Amy Abercrombie King (team coach) have been working with them since the beginning of the year.
“Our students have got to know what damages cyber crime can cause. Studies show that a well-planned cyber-attack could reduce our modern society to the Stone Age in a matter of 3 days,” said Mrs. Abercrombie King.
The team was among 38 in the nation advancing to Round 3 of the competition, which will be held Jan. 13, 2012.