The fifth annual Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition (PCDC), hosted by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWARSYSCEN) Atlantic in collaboration with the South Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), and SC Cyber, was held April 8-10 at Trident Technical College in North Charleston, South Carolina.
High school students from around South Carolina competed Saturday. Each member of the First place winners, Porter-Gaud School, received $500 towards scholarships. Each competing school received a laptop and programmable drone. Aiden Durand of Palmetto Scholars Academy was voted MVP, receiving a $1,000 award. Other qualifying high schools that competed were South Aiken, Ashley Ridge, Blythewood, Home School Network, Stratford High and Wando. Qualifying for the high school competition is open to all schools in South Carolina but only eight teams can compete. The top three teams of the previous year are invited back while the remaining five positions are available to the top five from the third round of the state’s CyberPatriot Competition.
Each member of the First Place College of Charleston team also received $500. For the second year in a row, Clemson’s MacKenzie Binns earned MVP, receiving $1,000. Other qualifying schools included Charleston Southern University, Claflin University, ECPI University, The Citadel, Trident Technical College and the University of South Carolina also competed in the event. Teams qualified either by finishing in the top three of the previous year or through their performance in the Southeast Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.
For second year in a row, PCDC held the Palmetto Digital Forensics Competition (PDFC) on 8 April. Digital forensics is a branch of forensic science encompassing the process of revealing and interpreting electronic data. The goal of the process is to perform a structured investigation while maintaining a documented chain of evidence to find out exactly what happened on a computing device and who was responsible for it. Competitors solved as many forensics scenarios as possible while earning points. Each exercise required the participant to utilize various techniques to find and capture a designated “flag”. Scenarios ranged in difficulty levels that included date/time stamps, hashes, passwords, malware analysis, reverse engineering, registry analysis, data recovery, and encryption. A total of 60 participants competed in Saturday’s event. PDFC provided two divisions: a local high school and a state-wide collegiate. First place for the high school division was earned by Eric Holmi while Garret Young received first place collegiate. Each won a Samsung Galaxy S2 Tablet.
A new initiative for 2017, Cyber-In-The Middle, provided a window into Cybersecurity and the PCDC competition for middle school students. Ninety local middle school students were assigned to either gold, blue, or red teams. Curriculum also included: mini-expos, computer deconstruction and reconstruction, and a cyber-introduction.
The 2018 PCDC is tentatively scheduled for 14-16 April. We are also looking into the possibility of holding a Programmable Drone Challenge to be held for high school students on Sunday using the drones that they received as technology grants this year.