Student competitors in the 2023 CyberForce Conquer the Hill – Reign Edition Competition showcased exceptional cybersecurity skills

In an exciting showdown of talent and skill, Cameron Whitehead of the University of Central Florida emerged as the champion of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2023 CyberForce® Conquer the Hill – Reign Edition Competition. Whitehead also won the 2022 Reign Edition Competition. This virtual event, organized by the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, involved 144 individual participants from collegiate institutions across the nation. Competitors traversed a virtual escape room that required them to tackle challenges that simulated real-life scenarios, such as hacking into server rooms, interacting with AI robots, and decoding secret messages.

The CyberForce Conquer the Hill – Reign Edition Competition was designed like an escape room challenge. Whitehead showcased exceptional abilities in navigating these complex cyber situations, earning him the well-deserved title of champion.

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand due to the increasing number of threats in the digital world. DOE and Argonne recognize the importance of inspiring and educating a new generation of cybersecurity experts. That’s why DOE created the CyberForce Program, which provides opportunities for aspiring professionals to develop their skills and protect critical infrastructure.

“Congratulations to Cameron Whitehead on his hard work and for winning the 2023 Reign Competition!” said Puesh Kumar, Director of DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). “In an increasingly digitized and connected world, a skilled cybersecurity workforce is critically important to the U.S. energy sector. Thanks to CyberForce, students can test their skills and learn about career opportunities that support the security needs of the country.”

Amanda Theel, director of the CyberForce Program and group leader of Workforce Development in Argonne’s Strategic Security Sciences division, praised Whitehead and the other participants, saying, “The 2023 CyberForce Conquer the Hill – Reign Edition competition showcased the impressive talents of Cameron Whitehead and his peers. We are proud to support and challenge these future cybersecurity professionals.”

The CyberForce Program, funded by DOE’s CESER, has a rich history of empowering aspiring professionals. Since its 2016 inception, the program has provided immersive experiences, informational webinars, and competitions, fostering the development of essential skills and knowledge necessary to safeguard critical infrastructure.

For more information about the CyberForce Program and upcoming events, please visit the CyberForce Program website.