Ohio National Guard News

Inaugural competition tests Ohio students' cybersecurity skills

Story by Stephanie Beougher, Video by Sgt. Andrew Kuhn, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Nearly 60 Central Ohio students competed in the first-ever cybersecurity competition hosted by the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee's (OC3) Cyber Range. Students were put to the test to defend against cyber attacks during a virtual capture the flag event at Columbus State Community College.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (12/1/17) — The Ohio Cyber Range’s first-ever cyber capture the flag event tested students’ skills at defending against cyberattacks. The event at Columbus State Community College on Dec. 1 served as the kickoff for the first phase of the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee’s (OC3) Cyber Range.

OC3, a collaborative effort of more than 100 public, private, military and educational organizations led by the Ohio National Guard, was initiated by Gov. John Kasich to develop a stronger cybersecurity infrastructure and provide innovative training and education to strengthen Ohio’s cyber workforce.

“We’ve been determined to protect ourselves from the growing threats of cyberattacks, and help local governments, schools and universities to fend off these criminal invasions of our privacy and security,” Gov. Kasich said.

The OC3 Cyber Range is a virtual training ground accessible for competitions, training, and testing environment for schools, governments and businesses.

In the inaugural event for the range, nearly 60 students from Columbus State and more than a dozen Central Ohio high schools worked in teams of two to solve a series of real-world scenarios to test their technical skills and knowledge of cybersecurity. Teams retrieved virtual flags when they successfully solved the challenges.

“This is just the first of what will be many cybersecurity contests available to students across the state,” Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general, said. “As we implement more phases of the state’s new cyber range, there will be a virtual environment available to nurture research, development and an innovative approach to cybersecurity that will put Ohio at the forefront of cyber excellence.”

Columbus State, host of the inaugural cyber competition, is a member of OC3.

“Developing awareness of cyber threats in our communities and increasing our ability to minimize cyber vulnerabilities is critical to the continued success and protection of our country,” said Larry McWherter, cybersecurity instructor at Columbus State Community College. “The cybersecurity program here is committed to producing professionals who know the cyber threat and can respond to it well.”

Students from Columbus State were joined by high school students from:

  • Berne Union High School (Fairfield County)

  • Bloom-Carroll High School (Fairfield County)

  • Canal Winchester High School (Fairfield County)

  • Central Crossing High School (Franklin County)

  • Columbus Downtown High School (Franklin County)

  • Dublin Coffman High School (Franklin County)

  • Eastland Career Center (Franklin County)

  • Franklin Heights High School (Franklin County)

  • Hilliard Bradley High School (Franklin County)

  • West Holmes High School (Holmes County)

  • South-Western Career Academy (Franklin County)

  • St. Henry High School (Mercer County)

  • Tolles (Madison County)

  • Westland High School (Franklin County)

In addition to the Cyber Range and improving the training and education of users and students in cybersecurity, OC3 has also developed goals to establish volunteer cyber incident response teams and identify and share best practices, policies and technologies for all Ohioans.

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