OREM, Utah — A group of Utah Valley University students took first place in an international competition that challenges teams to prepare a detailed response to a hypothetical cybersecurity attack with global consequences.
According to a news release from the university, the "Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge" was a David and Goliath-type competition for the UVU "W0LV3R1NES," who competed against graduate and Ph.D. students from top universities including Tufts, Georgetown, Columbia, New York, American, and Duke universities, in addition to West Point, the Air Force Academy, and the Naval Academy.
“As director of the program and center, I have worked with these students and coaches over the years, and it is an amazing thing to see what they have accomplished here,” said Ryan Vogel, director of National Security Studies at UVU, in a news release. “As an undergraduate team in just our second year competing, it was a huge feat to win this competition over all the elite teams from across the country and world.”
The competition, which was held via Zoom due to the pandemic, hosted teams from the United States, Australia, Chile and South Africa.
Participants were given a packet of fictional information—including tweets, chat logs, news articles and other sources of data—from which they were asked to prepare their plans for responding to the attack.
The teams analyzed the information and created a series of documents and presentations for a panel of judges as though they were presenting the information to the National Security Council.
UVU students Andrew Jensen, Mark Driggs, Alec Heitzmann, Hunter Karr, Ashton Earl, Bryton Jensen, and Edward Goebel—all of whom are in UVU's National Security Studies program—received coaching from faculty, professional coaches, academic mentors and local cybersecurity professionals.