The Cambridge School
Students from The Cambridge School during the awards presentation of the SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge, March 24, 2018. Photo: Liz F.

The nation’s future cybersecurity experts were honing their skills in San Diego during the recent SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge, which saw two local schools take top honors.

Del Norte High School and The Cambridge School took first place in their respective high school and middle school divisions during the March 24 final challenge at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD.

Del Norte HS
Students from Del Norte High School during the awards presentation of the SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge, March 24, 2018. Photo: Liz F.

“The Cyber Cup’s goal is to encourage students to learn about computer security threats by providing an educational venue in which students are able to apply the theories and practical skills they have learned, and foster a spirit of teamwork, ethical behavior and effective communication both within and across teams,” according to competition officials.

The competition is a hands-on forensics challenge that incorporates real-world investigation. This year, students searched a “crime scene” for clues, did a discovery, then presented their findings to a panel of judges.

The competition was open to all high school and middle school students and expanded into Imperial, San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The event is the hallmark of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) outreach initiatives.

Over 500 students participated in the challenge. More than a dozen high schools and middle schools representing San Diego made it to the March 24 finals. San Marcos High School and Westview High School took second and third place, repectively, in the Varsity level. Eastlake Middle School and Oak Valley Middle School placed second and third, respectively, in the Junior Varsity level.

A total of over $28,000 in scholarship/grant funds were awarded to the top four teams in both the high school and middle school levels. The donation supports the 2018/19 school programs, officials said.

“The winning monies go to fund further future cyber programs for the schools,” according to competition officials. “With the ever-shrinking school budgets, the much-needed funds can go a long way. The goal of the SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge is to help inspire today’s youth to follow into tomorrow’s leaders.”

Securing Our eCity Foundation, in partnership with the National Defense Industrial Association, National University, Circadence and ScaleMatrix, hosted the challenge.