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Wednesday, October 09, 2013 9:01:00 AM

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, Loyola Blakefield's Cyber Security team took home first place in the High School Division Finals of the 2013 Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference (MDC3) hosted by CyberMaryland and Leidos (formerly known as SAIC) at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The final competition required each team to defend and harden eight networks against an attacking force made up of some of the best professional offensive hackers in the country from Leidos for six straight hours.Teams arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center at 8:30 a.m. and were on-site until 4:45 p.m. after the winners and awards were announced.

Loyola led the way for the majority of the competition and came out on top, rewarded with the first place prize of $30,000 ($5,000 a piece) to go towards each student's future education compliments of the National Security Agency.

Loyola was up against seven other high schools in the final round including second place Marshall Academy from Fairfax, Va.

Before reaching the finals, the team went through two qualifying rounds which took place remotely in their Cyber Lab here on campus in Xavier Hall. During the qualifying rounds, they had to defend and harden a single network without any attackers. Over 50 high schools were involved in the qualifying rounds.

The Loyola team is comprised of six students (Mike O’Brien, Patrick Lagator, James Gaitan, James Lortz, Evan Byrd and Ian Dalton) who meet regularly after school to practice defending against common security threats. The group is led by Loyola Blakefield's Director of Technology Mr. Stephen Morrill, who founded the team last year.

This was Loyola's second consecutive trip down to the MDC3 finals. Last year, they came in third place after forming the team just one month before the competition.

For those unfamiliar with the CyberMaryland Conference, according to their website:

CyberMaryland is a unique conference spanning two days during Cybersecurity Awareness Month that will allow organizations to achieve some very important objectives:

  • Experience the future of cybersecurity and interact with emerging technologies, some yet to be commercialized, that will redefine our systems in a special session entitled, “Protect the Future-Updated for 2013”
  • Experience current cybersecurity technologies presented by today’s most innovative and effective companies in the CyberMaryland Industry Showcase
  • Meet and interact with the up and coming Cyber Generation of students and young professionals and network with top cyber-professionals
  • Interact with the leading Cyber Policy makers that set the course for our country
  • Understand the interconnection within the cybersecurity ecosystem by joining the CyberMap and the unveiling of the 2013 Innovation Index.
  • Witness live Cyber “battles” from our region's top high school, college and professional teams in the Maryland Cyber Challenge

Still not quite sure what our Cyber Security team does at these competitions? This article by the Washington Post might answer a few questions.

Loyola Blakefield Participates in Trial Run of LifeJourney™

The Loyola Cyber Security students were also highlighted at a special session of the CyberMaryland Conference that served as the kick-off of LifeJourney™ Cyber Ideation Day.  

LifeJourney™ provides a web-based interactive classroom experience where schools enable their students to "test drive" future careers in cyber security by living a day in the life of the nation's cyber security leaders.

The sessions included a keynote address by UMBC's President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and the Department of Homeland Security’s, Chief of National Cybersecurity Education, Montana Williams will handed out the nation's first Cyber Resume to Loyola student Mike O’Brien ’14. A video presentation also featured Loyola students and promoted their early involvement in the testing and development of the product.

LifeJourney™ is a classroom experience that enables students to live a day in the life of America's STEM and Cyber leaders. Students will choose from over 100 LifeJourneys by America's leading companies to inspire and motivate over 40 million students nationwide to test drive their future.