High school and college students will compete in a cyber version of capture the flag to test cybersecurity skills today.

Donnell Middle School will host the all-day competition.

The event is part of the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee’s “statewide initiative to try and get cybersecurity in at the high school level,” said Martin White, director of information technology for Findlay City Schools.

Cybersecurity jobs pay well, and “we need lots and lots of people, and we’re way behind” in having enough trained people, White said.

Students will be competing in a “safe sandbox” to practice both protecting against attacks on websites and penetrating websites, White said.

In the sandbox, “they can’t hurt anybody, and they can’t do anything illegal that’s going to get them into trouble,” White said.

Individuals or teams will compete to retrieve virtual flags in the virtual city of Alphaville by solving problems, answering trivia questions or otherwise demonstrating cybersecurity skills.

Alphaville is part of the Michigan Cyber Range, a cybersecurity training tool offered by Merit Network (formerly the Michigan Educational Research Information Triad).
Students from Findlay, Arcadia, Van Buren, Carey and McComb high schools; Findlay Digital Academy; and Rhodes State College, Tiffin University and the University of Toledo will compete, according to the state adjutant general’s department. (The adjutant general commands the Ohio National Guard, which leads the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee.)

One or two middle school students are also competing, White said.

“It almost scares you how good they are with technology,” Findlay City Schools Superintendent Ed Kurt said.

Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general, will speak at 9 a.m. about cybersecurity and the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee (OC3).

“If people want to come in and just see what cybersecurity’s about, learn how the OC3 can help their business, help their schools, help their college programs, come in, listen to the lecture, get the information about the OC3 and, you know, make their decision based on that,” White said.

Rubright: 419-427-8417
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Twitter: @kerubright