The State Round of Cyber Patriot 2022-2023

The State Round of Cyber Patriot 2022-2023

Ben Kramer, Reporter

Throughout the fall and winter seasons, the Briar Woods cyber club has participated in Cyber Patriot, a national youth cyber defense competition founded by the United States Air Force. The Cyber Patriot competition is a good way for students to get exposed to job opportunities and skills in the field of cybersecurity or IT. The competition places students in a desktop image and has them search for various vulnerabilities in that image. Essentially serving as a ‘scavenger hunt’ utilizing various cybersecurity techniques for teams to rack up points.

Based on these scores, each team was placed into a tier, middle school, silver, gold, and platinum respectfully. “The goal of the teams is to earn enough points during the first rounds to qualify for platinum status, although gold and silver statuses are commendable,” said Jennifer Marden, a host of the Cyber Patriot state round.

 Then students participated in a qualifying round to potentially move on to the state round. One team, composed of Briar Woods students, scored high enough to qualify for the state round for the gold tier. “Our experience was nothing short of amazing, with our team working together well to overcome challenges. The rest of the team and I are blessed to have Randy [another supervisor of the Cyber Club], Tom [another supervisor of the Cyber Club], and Mr. Starke there to help us along the way,” said Josh Gross, a competitor in the state round of Cyber Patriot.

Hence the name, the state round is a competition between the highest scoring teams from a certain tier in the state of Virginia. “The one disadvantage of the competition is that some schools have been competing for years and hand down scripts written for the competition to be used the following year,” said Jennifer Marden. Marden followed up by saying “it would be better if the AFA would tier the competition so that new schools competed against new schools, and advanced schools competed against each other.” 

As well as being significant to the Cyber Patriot competition, the state round is also very important for the futures of the members of Cyber Club. It teaches skills needed for jobs in cybersecurity and IT, as well as serving as a very good resume builder. “It will benefit students in the future as the competition enhances skills and prepares students to perform under pressure,” said Jennifer Marden. 

Cyber Patriot is a competition that teaches students skills that aren’t just related to cybersecurity. “So far Cyber Patriot has taught us integral skills that will help us all in our future endeavors, including teamwork, discipline, and the ability to adapt in the face of adversity,” said Josh Gross. 

Despite the fact that Briar Woods’ run in Cyber Patriot has concluded, the club still meets regularly and is planning on participating again next year. Currently, they are practicing to hopefully have more teams advance to further rounds. If participating in this kind of tournament interests you, consider joining the Cyber Club and entering Cyber Patriot.