A six-member team from a Toronto high school has won the fifth annual CyberTitan cybersecurity competition for Canadian middle and high school students.
The winning team from William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, called Unavailable For Legal Reasons, earned the highest points in the mock test, it was announced Wednesday afternoon in an online ceremony.
A six-person team called Art Academy, also from Mackenzie, placed second.
A four-person team called 6ixside Tech, from Earl Haig High School in Toronto, was named Defenseman of the Year for their performance and also placed third overall.
Of the 130 teams that participated in the problem-solving competition last fall, 11 qualified for the finals: four from Western Canada, four from Eastern Canada, the best college team and generic teams all-female sophomores.
The five-and-a-half-hour competition, which took place on Monday, saw teams of four to six members compete against the clock to perform a number of functions, including installing security patches, increasing access privileges for some users and reducing access for others, setting Windows Group Policy object rules, finding and removing malware, and regular operating system hardening. Successful completion of each task was awarded points, with the winning team having the most points.
This year, the students were placed in an imaginary mission control center connected to a manned station on the moon.
As in the previous two years of the competition, the teams competed virtually because of the pandemic.
Each member of the winning team receives a $1,000 Amazon gift card. The team will also benefit from a one-hour mentorship session with KPMG Canada cyber staff. The second-place team members each received a $500 Amazon gift card, while the third-place team members each received a $250 Amazon card.
For the second year, the online environment was provided by Ottawa’s Field Effect and its cyber range simulator. The company also created the tests.
“I’m super impressed with the amount they [the participants] actually know at this young age,” Noel Murphy, the company’s director of simulation technology, said in an interview, “and I hope they continue to do so. We have a university and college co-op program here and hopefully some of the students graduating this year will apply next summer to work here. I am delighted with what they can already bring with what they have learned on their own, not to mention what they can learn from real professionals.
“There is a huge shortage of cybersecurity professionals around the world — Canada is no different — and the only way to overcome this shortage is to get young people interested in cybersecurity. They don’t need to have cybersecurity training. We have a number of people at Field Effect who don’t have a background in cybersecurity or IT, but have landed cybersecurity jobs here.
The 11 teams that reached the final were
- MHS Junior Warrior, from McAdam Middle School, McAdam, New Brunswick;
- Art Academy, William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, Toronto.;
- Not available for legal reasons, from William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, Toronto;
- FalconTech Post Mortem, Center Wellington District High School, Fergus, Ont.;
- Morpheus, from Center Wellington District High School, Fergus, Ont.;
- PTEC Sweats, from Pembina Trails Early College, Winnipeg;
- Syntax error, from Sisler High School, Winnipeg;
- Olympians Apollo, from Old Scona Academic, Edmonton;
- Olympians Athena, of Old Scona Academic, Edmonton;
- Olympians Poseidon, blahm Old Scona Academic, Edmonton.