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UCF Cyberforce

By: The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) and Argonne National Lab (ANL) announced the national winner and runners up of the eighth annual CyberForce Competition®. This year’s competition, held on November 4 and 5, featured a simulated cyberattack on an up-and-coming electric vehicle manufacturer’s new solar installation. A Team with a Dream of the University of Central Florida overcame 143 other U.S. university teams from across 35 states and Puerto Rico to be crowned the winner.

The competition is part of DOE’s CyberForce® Program, which is designed to inspire and develop the next generation of energy sector cyber defenders. The program supports the Biden Administration’s goal of building a pipeline of skilled cyber defenders to fill the nearly 500,000 currently unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States. As cyberattacks become more prevalent and attackers become more sophisticated, the need for a skilled cybersecurity workforce has increased. Data breaches, email security pressures, and a growing reliance on the Internet of Things make it more important than ever that the nation builds a knowledgeable workforce to fill both entry-level and senior positions.

“The winners of the 2022 CyberForce Competition have demonstrated exceptional skill and teamwork as they rose to the challenge presented by a real-world cybersecurity scenario,” said Puesh Kumar, Director of the Department of Energy Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response. “On behalf of DOE CESER, I am delighted to congratulate A Team with a Dream from the University of Central Florida on their performance and success.”

This year’s competition revolved around a simulated solar-powered electric vehicle manufacturing plant, which recently acquired several solar farms and their infrastructure. Some of that infrastructure appeared compromised, so student teams raced the clock to assess the vulnerabilities and ensure that the rest of the system was well-secured before it was taken over.

As the U.S. energy sector continues to evolve toward greater reliance on clean energy sources the cybersecurity needs of the sector are shifting and it is important that professionals working in the field are well-prepared to meet emerging threats. By presenting competitors with a scenario aligned with this transition, CyberForce plays a pivotal role in advancing workforce development.

The winners of the 2022 CyberForce Competition are:

First place: A Team with a Dream – The University of Central Florida 

Second place: The Borg Collective – The University of Central Florida 

Third place: Cyber Lions – Pennsylvania State University 

The annual CyberForce Competition® is managed by CESER, with Argonne as the lead national laboratory providing planning and subject matter expertise. Other DOE national laboratories that partnered with Argonne to provide support to this event are Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

For more information about the program, visit https://cyberforce.energy.gov/.

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