Computing PhD Student Will Unger attended the National CyberForce Competition hosted by the United States Department of Energy on Monday where Boise State students teamed up to complete in a two day competition in Idaho Falls. While helping to represent Boise State University, Will and the rest of the Blue team worked together to solve cyber security problems under different complex threats, which is integral in protecting our nation’s power grid. The team dealt with cyber attacks much like the attack on Ukraine’s power grid in 2015 where hackers were able to successfully compromise electric company’s energy distribution, causing mass power outages.
The competition included over 100 teams and is intended to give students access to hands on cyber security experiences involving real world scenarios. “Participating in this competition was a challenge for us by taking the knowledge learned in our various classes and applying the knowledge/skills in a more real-world setting.” (Will Unger) The Boise State team’s mission was “to defend an energy substation. Other teams/labs dealt with different scenarios such as HPC, solar generation center, or manufacture center. Our team attempted to keep our services up for users while attempting to keep the attackers out of our network.”
I had the opportunity to ask Will what his favorite part of the two day long competition was and he said, ” I was honored to be one of the members of the team representing Boise State University at CyberForce. The competition was a learning experience that challenged our Boise State team to dig deep and excel.” He also mentioned that the students who participated in the competition even got to tour some of the Idaho National Laboratory.