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Two teams from Sisler High School’s Cyber Security Academy will represent Manitoba at the CyberTitan III national finals on June 8.
Organized by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), CyberTitan is an annual competition and training experience that educates students about cybersecurity.
The competition is a simulation based on real-world events. Students are presented with a set of virtual images that represent operating systems ‘under attack’ and must find cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and secure the system while maintaining critical services within a given time period, according to the CyberTitan website.
"Basically what we’re doing is we’re just trying to figure out the best and most efficient way that we can attack these machines and get them secure," said Devlin Neil-McSwain, captain of Sisler’s CA Prime team.
"It’s so unique from any other competition that you’ll do in high school."
For the past two years, teams met in Ottawa, Ont. for the final competition, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year’s event will be held virtually. Each student and coach will participate from their own homes.
This year’s theme is Hedge Fund 2020.
"So they are working for a financial organization, and they’re going to be able to — in real time — see the financial impact of having money funneled out of their accounts the longer it takes them to fix vulnerabilities and fend off attacks," said Diana Barbosa, ICTC director of education and standards.
Teams qualify based on their scores in the international CyberPatriot competition. Ten teams — the top four from Western Canada, the top four from Eastern Canada, a wildcard team, and one middle school team — will participate in the final.
Sisler’s teams — each with a roster of six students — CA Prime, led by Robert Esposito, and DDR1, coached by Paul Buskell and Charles Bazilewich, will face groups from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick.
In CyberPatriot, CA Prime placed first in Canada and DDR1 ranked fourth.
With around 100 members in Sisler’s Cyber Security Academy, students are accustomed to competing against and working with each other, Buskell said, so having two Sisler teams compete in the final is nothing new.
"I know in the past … there’s been some kind of friendly rivalries between the teams," Buskell said.
CyberTitan launched three years ago, when Esposito and Bazilewich suggested to the ICTC the formation of a Canadian version of CyberPatriot.
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