Florida State University Institutions Dominate 2023 Department of Energy’s CyberForce Competition

In an extraordinary display of cybersecurity prowess, State University System of Florida teams dominated the 2023 Department of Energy (DOE) CyberForce Competition on November 4 in St. Charles, IL. Out of 95 participating teams, Florida’s top institutions claimed four of the top five positions, showcasing the state’s exceptional talent and commitment to cyber education.

The final top standings are as follows:

1st place: UCF – A Team With A Dream: Achieving a third consecutive win, this marks the fourth National Championship in CyberForce for the UCF team, adding to their victories in 2018, 2021, and 2022.

3rd place: UF – Darth Gator: Securing an impressive third position, the UF team showcased their exceptional cyber skills.

4th place: UCF – St. Dominic College: A nod to the Q Center’s original name, St. Dominic College for Women, this UCF team claimed the fourth spot, maintaining a tradition of excellence.

5th Place: USF CyberHerd: The USF team rounded off the top five, demonstrating their dedication to cybersecurity and contributing to Florida’s dominance in the competition.

The annual DOE CyberForce Competition attracted nearly 600 students from elite schools across the nation, emphasizing the high level of competition. Florida State Universities, particularly UCF, UF, and USF, proved their mettle by claiming four of the top five positions, solidifying their reputation as leaders in cybersecurity education.

During the all-day CyberForce Competition, the teams faced real-world cybersecurity issues surrounding distributed energy resources (DERs), including constraints like budget and ensuring uninterrupted power access. The ninth iteration of the competition emphasized not just technical knowledge but innovation, adaptability, and effective communication. Participants had to maintain the system, create defenses on tight budgets, and work with virtual users. A Team with a Dream from the University of Central Florida demonstrated excellence in handling challenges to their mini electric grid despite the scenario’s realistic constraints and cyber-attacks.

“I want to congratulate A Team with a Dream from the University of Central Florida on their success in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2023 CyberForce Competition,” said Puesh M. Kumar, Director of CESER. “The competition focused on ensuring the cybersecurity of clean energy systems and the students did an exceptional job in executing the challenge. It’s vitally important that we continue to promote cyber workforce development to help us defend the energy sector of today, and tomorrow.”

Through this competition, DOE sought to inspire and strengthen the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. Given the high demand for such experts, the CyberForce Competition plays an important role in preparing students for the field’s real-world challenges and demands. For many participants, it’s a steppingstone towards a career in creating a more secure digital world.

See the full press release from the DOE Office of Cybersecurity. To learn more about the DOE CyberForce competition, go to https://cyberforce.energy.gov/cyberforce-competition/.