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Cybersecurity / Education / Universities

The NSA put up big prize money for CyberMaryland’s ‘Cyber Challenge’

Winning team members won $5,000 each. The hacking competition featured high school, college and pro groups from across the state.

This team from Loyola Blakefield went on to win the high school division in the Cyber Challenge. (Photo by Tyler Waldman)
Disclosure: is a media sponsor of CyberMaryland.

An elite team breaking into a highly-guarded fortress on a mission to plant a flag.
No, this isn’t what the next “Halo” multiplayer looks like. It’s the finals of the Maryland Cyber Challenge, held at CyberMaryland last week at the Baltimore Convention Center.
The finals wrapped up a two-month season for the cyber challenge, which has teams competing against each other in high school, college and professional divisions.
One of several teams from Loyola Blakefield took home the high school top honors, while Harford Technical High School took second place. At the college level, the internationally acclaimed University of Maryland University College Cyber Padawans won the top spot, with no second place awarded. A pro team, also from UMUC, won the top prize in that division, with second place to Chiron Tech.
The season started with 51 teams across the three divisions, hailing from both public and private institutions. The final eight in each category squared off. Some schools, like Loyola, sent multiple teams. The University of Maryland sent a half-dozen, said Richard Forno, director of the cybersecurity graduate program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The pro and college teams competed last Wednesday in the capture the flag-style hacking game.
“It was very low scoring. The college teams really didn’t start scoring until late in the day. They just couldn’t get in,” Forno said. “That’s not a bad thing. That’s just the way it was.”
Teams scored by hacking into opponents’ boxes and controlling them for the day.
The high school-level finalists competed in a similar game, defending their boxes from staffers’ attacks.
The high school and college teams won $5,000 per member, while the second place teams at those levels won $2,000 per member. The prizes were furnished by the National Security Agency, Forno said.
“It’s a meaningful prize,” he said. “I think it’s one of the biggest prizes for a cyber competition.”

Companies: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) / National Security Agency / University of Maryland Global Campus / University of Maryland

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