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Student CyberPatriots head to competition

Spokane high school students rule this year’s national CyberPatriot competition.

Last year, team TEC Pirates from Rogers High School went to the national finals in Washington, D.C., and returned with fourth place among the 12 teams competing in the open division.

This year, six of the 12 teams in the final round of the open division of the national competition are from Spokane: three from Rogers and one each from Lewis and Clark, Ferris and North Central high schools. Plus, Rogers is sending one team to compete in the all service division.

“While this competition may not carry the fast-paced intensity of a sporting event, it’s still exciting and fun to watch,” said Master Sgt. Loyd Patton, coach of the Air Pirates team from Rogers.

During initial rounds of CyberPatriot, teams are given a computer system that has been hacked, and they have six hours to find and fix any problems, eliminate malware and viruses and apply any patches, all while they keep the system running.

“In the championship round, they have the same task except there are six to 12 systems that are networked together, plus an active Red Team on site attempting to bring down the network,” Patton said. “They literally come off the competition floor sweating.”

There are two tracks in CyberPatriot: open division for public, private, parochial and home-school teams; and all service division for Junior ROTC units of all service and Civil Air Patrol squadrons.

More than 1,000 teams representing every state and U.S. Department of Defense-dependent schools in Europe, Canada and the Pacific competed in the initial rounds.

Other qualifying teams in the open division come from Los Angeles; Lexington, Mass.; Bartonsville, Pa.; San Antonio; and Falls Church, Va.

The nonprofit Air Force Association covers the costs for teams to attend the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition in Washington, D.C., March 22-24.