At last week’s CyberMaryland conference, teams of high school and college students gathered in a room of the Hyatt Regency Baltimore overlooking the harbor. They were gathered for a Capture the Flag tournament, testing their cybersecurity skills and competing against other teams. Their coaches offered advice, and some wore uniforms like any other sporting event.
The arena, however, was digital. Along with being held in Baltimore, a local startup created the platform and content behind the competition. Point3 Security held the competition, with qualifying held over a month leading up to the in-person finals. The competitors were using Escalate, the challenge-based cybersecurity training platform developed by the ETC–based company.
The platform has been used for training by companies and professionals, with more than 100 challenges available and new content each month. With a mission to help cyber workers improve and retain skills, Point3 has also started offering it for students, as well. According to Point3 Director of Marketing and Brand Management Erika Johnson, it’s a testament to the fact that people of any age have the skills, and that a degree isn’t required to excel in cybersecurity.
“Every single one of these students has demonstrated the skills and perseverance required to be successful in the community and in the workforce.” said Evan Dornbush, Point3 Security’s cofounder and CEO.
The level playing field was also reflected in the results. In the end, a team from Montgomery County’s Poolesville High School emerged victorious, and took home $5,000 in winnings, while Loyola Blakefield Academy also earned runner-up winnings.
UMBC earned honors as the top college team, with Air Force Academy as runner-up. Additionally, the four teams were each awarded software and hardware worth $25,000.
Point3 has been taking the capture the flag challenges on the road, as well. Next stop is a cyber challenge in Atlanta, Johnson said.
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