Seniors awarded at cybersecurity competition


Seniors Arlan Jaska and Collin Berman placed first and third, respectively, in the Virginia Governor’s Cup Cyber Challenge, a cybersecurity championship hosted by Governor Bob McDonell.

The competition included 40 select students and was held at George Mason University on March 1 and 2. Eight students from Jefferson qualified to take part in the tournament, including Jaska and Collin. Jaska and Collin both got involved in the challenge through the Thomas Jefferson Computer Security Club (TJCSC) and are both officers of the club.

“Last year, when the Computer Security Club started, I got into that,” Berman said. “We had a guy from Raytheon come every week and talk about the state of cybersecurity and what was going on there. I got interested in that and started doing my own thing.”

The 40 students were chosen out from a Cyber Foundations Fall 2012 competition. The fall competition involved online tutorials and quizzes based on topics such as networking and system administration.

After the students were selected, they took part in a Netwars Tournament, a cybersecurity environment designed to involve the students in the future of national cybersecurity. Jaska and Berman won $5000 and $1500 in scholarship money, respectively.

“It was great to compete, because even though I knew a lot about computer security, I hadn’t had many good opportunities to use and practice the skills and techniques that I had learned in a real-world environment,” Jaska said. “It also reinforced just how insecure many websites and programs are, even today.”