CyberPatriot competition showcases cyber defense


Senior Computer Security Club members Mossab Alsadig and Austin Ralls prepare a lesson for new members.

The rhythmic click-clacks of a keyboard and the hums of computers provide background music as senior Collin Berman scribbles on the whiteboard, teaching the new members of Jefferson’s Computer Security Club (CSC) about Structured Query Language (SQL) injections as the club prepares for the CyberPatriot competition on Friday, Dec. 7.

The Computer Security Club was founded last year and has grown to over 30 members, all interested in the field of cyber defense. The club is led by senior co-presidents Mossab Alsadig and Cyrus Malekpour, senior secretary Arlan Jaska and junior treasurer Jay Hebert. The club is sponsored by Shane Torbert.

“As society becomes increasingly dependent on technology to run services, the security of these systems becomes paramount in protecting information, from personal finance to classified military intelligence,” Hebert said. “The Computer Security Club explores the defensive aspects cyber security.”

Hundreds of schools across the nation participate in the CyberPatriot competition each year, which is sponsored by the United States Air Force and hosted by Northrop Grumman. Rather than being a hacking competition, CyberPatriot focuses on securing machines. Each school is provided a virtual operating system with several vulnerabilities to secure within a set amount of time on the competition day.

Ten members of the Computer Security Club will participate in the challenge this Friday, which is expected to last around 6 hours. The club made it successfully to the third round out of four last year.

“We hope to do a lot better with the expertise that we gained last year,” Alsadig said.