Due to the current global health crisis, the DOE will host the sixth iteration of the CyberForce Competition™ in a virtual environment on November 14, 2020 . Up to 400 students will participate as individual competitors rather than as teams.

The DOE CyberForce Competition is an energy-focused cyber defense competition. This year, collegiate students will defend their virtual simulated energy infrastructure against red team attackers who are seeking to infiltrate their systems. Students must successfully maintain usability while defending against the real-world scenario of attacks and anomalies to earn points. The student with the most points at the end of the competition will be declared the national winner. Please see the 2020 CyberForce website for more information.

In a fast-paced, day-long test of endurance and applied knowledge, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) CyberForce Competition™ challenges the next generation of cyber professionals to actively secure critical control networks inspired by real systems used in the energy sector.

Whether participating as individuals, or on a team (as in past years' events), students compete as Blue Team members, whose goal is to defend their network infrastructure from the Red Team attackers, while maintaining system usability for Green Team users.  Presented with a unique cyber scenario in advance of the event, undergraduate and graduate students are tasked with designing a secure network architecture based on provided parameters. The day of the competition, competitors defend their systems against cyberattacks designed and executed by expert volunteers from the National Labs and the private sector. Each security decision a competitor makes will affect their standing on the scoreboard as they contend to outperform their peers.

In addition to its emphasis on the nexus between critical energy infrastructure and cybersecurity, the CyberForce Competition is unique in that it presents competitors with real-world anomalies and constraints based on those that can be found in the energy sector, interdependencies among energy infrastructure (electricity, oil, and natural gas) and the critical infrastructure systems of other sectors.

Past iterations have challenged competitors to defend simulated generation facilities, distribution systems, data centers, and more. Private-sector representatives and National Lab staff are available to discuss post-graduation prospects available to participants who are considering a career in energy sector or industrial control system cybersecurity.

Unfilled cybersecurity careers are expected to reach more than 1.8 million by 2022, and with the ever-increasing amount of technology placed on the internet, security is a high priority.  The DOE established CyberForce to address this growing need, by raising awareness of energy sector cybersecurity as a career path among budding professionals.

As stated in the May 2019 Executive Order on America’s Cybersecurity Workforce, a superior cyber workforce is “a strategic asset that protects the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life.” This is especially true in the energy sector, where adversaries regularly seek to breach control systems and disrupt energy generation, distribution, or transmission. 

For more information and to register, visit www.cyberforcecompetition.com