CyberPatriots Protect Systems

by Asumi Shuda CyberPatriots Protect Systems
• The Peninsula High Cyberpatroit team bonds in competition protecting computer systems.

Peninsula High’s CyberPatriotsreached a new high in its cybersecurity journey this past week, as one of its teams was one of 12 teams that qualified for the Open Division Cyberpatriot National finals.
This year, the competition took place in Baltimore, and the team has been participating since arriving on April 8. The team partook in finding various cybersecurity vulnerabilities in given operating systems.
Team members have been preparing through hours of research and studying potential systems for competitions and, ultimately, Nationals. Although they did not place in the top three rankings, they still enjoyed the experience and were honored to qualify through their work in cybersecurity.
The team that qualified for Nationals this year consists of seniors Ryan Chau, Nicholas Wang, Robert Peltekov, RJ Wakefield-Carl and Seth Carner. The team was formed at the beginning of this school year.
CyberPatriotsis a National Youth Cyber Defense Program where competitors work in teams to find vulnerabilities in virtual images of technological systems, iPads to Windows devices, as well as methods to maintain its services.
The competition goes by rounds, and the process needs to be finished within a six-hour duration. Peninsula’s CyberPatriotshas been competing since 2009 and going to Cyberpatriot Nationals since 2011. The members, one being Chau, were very excited to gain the experience of going to Nationals.
“I originally joined the team because my dad coerced me to do so, but I chose to stay because it was an interesting process,” Chau said.
Chau has been on CyberPatriotssince his freshman year, and he has gone through four different teams since then. However, he feels that this year’s team is special because of the intellectual abilities he and his teammates bring to the competitions.
“I feel like when I look back at this, [Cyberpatriots] will be seen as a great time in my life,” Chau said.
CyberPatriotsis ultimately a STEM program, and many of its participants feel passionate about the subject or something related to it. Peltekov is one such competitor. He has been a part of CyberPatriotssince his first year of high school and feels that the team aligns with what he wants to study in college.
“[Cyberpatriots] is definitely in line with my passions, as I am going to school for engineering next year,” Peltekov said. “[Being a part of this team] has shown me how much there is to the STEM field as well as taught me a lot about [the importance of] cybersecurity.”
Cybersecurity has grown in its importance to the modern world, as today’s society becomes increasingly dependent on technology. With threats to the security of operating and networking systems being ever more of a reality, having programs like CyberPatriotshelp bring awareness to these dangers. CyberPatriotsenables participants to think about and act upon potential dangers to operating systems, and the skills learned from the experience can be something a member can bring with them as they go to college and beyond.
In order for the work of cybersecurity to attain success in Cyberpatriots, however, everyone needs to become a team member. Wang believes that the bond that existed within the team partly contributed to not only them qualifying for Nationals, but what makes them special as well.
“I think the cohesiveness of our team [is what makes us unique from others],” Wang said. “During competitions, we can be serious, yet we can also have a good laugh. I think this balance also [helps us stay on the same page] as we do not try to compete with each other: we move as a single unit.”
Wang, unlike his four-year teammates, has only been a part of CyberPatriotssince sophomore year. However, he and the rest of this group believe that the amount of experience everyone has under their belt contributes to their success during competitions.
CyberPatriotsgives members an opportunity to explore the field of cybersecurity and apply their knowledge in real-life situations with real operating systems. Wang, Peltekov, Chau, Carner, and Wakefield-Carl were able to succeed in not only this task but working as a unified team as well. These members feel that even after they graduate this year, the future is bright for Cyberpatriots.
“I hope to spread the knowledge of cybersecurity to the [underclassmen] in hopes of them [bringing Peninsula’s Cyberpatriots] to Nationals again,” Wang said.
“Each year, there are going to be new material to learn about [in cybersecurity] and new technologies to be dealt with. It is only going to get harder from here, so I want to make sure that [Cyberpatriots] is prepared for what is to come.”

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