Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe awarded the Virginia Cyber Cup to a student team from Virginia Tech at a reception on April 14 in Richmond, celebrating the inaugural Commonwealth Cyber Fusion Challenge.

The Virginia Tech team, made up of students from the Virginia Tech Cybersecurity Club, were invited to the Executive Mansion in Richmond to receive their trophy after winning the Virginia Cyber Cup Capture the Flag competition earlier this year. Zachary Burch of Pearisburg, Virginia, Drew Dudash of Stuart, Florida, Samuel Hentschel from Leesburg, Virginia, Andrew Pham from Fairfax, Virginia, Hithesh Peddamekala from Glen Allen, Virginia, and Josiah Pierce of Radford, Virginia, were on the Virginia Tech team.

On Feb. 25, teams from nine Virginia colleges and universities competed in a capture-the-flag competition that presented problems designed to model real-world computer security challenges that face cyber experts today.

The contest was part of the first annual Virginia Cyber Fusion conference, sponsored by Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner’s office and hosted by Virginia Military Institute. In addition to the Cyber Cup competition, the event featured panel discussions and talks by cybersecurity experts and a job fair for student attendees.

Accompanying the Virginia Tech students to the governor’s Executive Mansion were David Raymond, the director of the Virginia Cyber Range, and Kira Gantt, Hume Center associate director of outreach and education.

“I’m impressed with what these students have accomplished, and with the level of competition from schools across the commonwealth,” said Raymond. “It’s great to see so many students and faculty working hard to address these cybersecurity challenges.

The Virginia Cyber Cup Capture the Flag competition was hosted virtually by the Virginia Cyber Range, a collaboration between universities in Virginia that provides an environment for hands-on cybersecurity education for students.

The range will provide an extensive courseware repository for educators and a cloud-hosted virtual environment where students will practice what they have learned in immersive laboratory exercises that complement their cybersecurity courses.

The Cyber Range is funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia with additional support provided by Amazon Web Services and is headquartered in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.

Written by Russ Walker