More than 75 middle and high school students from throughout the Bay Area traveled to Cabrillo College for the Bay Area Regional Competition for Cybersecurity, organized by Bay Area Cyber Competitions.
The competition followed a “bug bounty” format, where companies invite developers to find vulnerabilities (bugs) in their websites, systems, or other technology so they can fix them before the product reaches the general public. This is an industry-standard practice used by companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.
During the competition, students were given a developmental ATM from the company “CoinCo,” and they had four hours to search for and find as many vulnerabilities as possible. They also created industry-level reports and participated in interviews with industry leaders to talk about their findings. Winners were chosen based on interview performance.
An all-female team from Granada High School in Livermore won the competition. A team from Santa Teresa High School in San Jose took second place, and another team from Grenada High School came in third place.
“The success of this competition demonstrates that our CIS students are ready to take on entry to mid-level technical roles,” says Irvin Lemus, Cabrillo’s CIS Department Chair and Bay Area Cyber Competitions Regional Coordinator. “Cabrillo is committed to investing in future cybersecurity professionals to meet the high demands of the field, so the competing students got hands-on experience with real-world skills before they even left high school.”
While students were the competitions’ main focus, teachers also found the event beneficial.
“I have a computer science degree, but only had one high-level class in cybersecurity myself, so I open my computer lab whenever they want to work, give them what I know, interpret difficult language, and they fill in the rest,” said Manuel Baez, the cyber coach at Grenada High School. “I tell all of my students, even if you don’t go into cybersecurity, you will be a good consumer of electronics, and be more conscious about cyber attacks.”
The next Bay Area cyber competition will be held in May and will focus on disaster recovery and business continuity. Teams will compete to respond to a simulated natural or manmade disaster. Cabrillo College is also running the SkillsUSA Cybersecurity competition for California, Missouri, and Florida.
For more information on these events and other cybersecurity events happening in the Bay Area, visit baycyber.net/.