RUSecure Capture the Flag contest crowns champion at event finals

RUSecure 2017 Champions: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
RUSecure 2017 Champions: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

A full day of competition and some creative answers to challenges allowed one team to reign supreme in the 2017 RUSecure Capture the Flag competition sponsored by Radford University's Department of Information Technology (DIT).

The event was held on Radford University's campus on April 29.

The “Hungry Hippos” from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria outlasted the competition of more than 250 students representing 63 teams from 28 high schools and three community colleges over the past six months, including the preliminary and semi-final rounds of the contest.

Managed by DIT faculty and students, the contest is part of an overall effort to improve cybersecurity literacy among K-12 students across the Commonwealth. The entire event, from the preliminary round to the on-campus finals, challenges high school students to perform at extraordinary levels. Students cover a wide variety of topic areas, including the anatomy of an attack, an introduction to networking, cryptography, forensics, web security and Windows/Linux security.  

Event co-chairs were Joe Chase and Prem Uppuluri.

In his closing remarks, Uppuluri praised all seven final teams in the contest.

“This was the closest competition we have had in the history of this program with very few points separating the top teams," he said.

Finishing in second place was the Poolesville High School team and the third-place finisher was the team from Deep Run High School.

Radford University alumnus Rick Schwein '83, a 31-year veteran of the FBI and the Army, delivered the keynote address in which he stressed the importance of the online activities of the contest participants.

“We need you to help us save the world” he said. “The threat of doomsday is not so much from a geopolitical entity pushing a button today but from a hacker who might gain access to dangerous weapons.”

Schwein also emphasized that life must be a balance.

“Master the virtual world, but live in the real world,” Schwein said. “Live your life in reverse. In other words, think about how you would want to be thought of and make those things happen.”

May 9, 2017