The California Cyber Innovation Challenge is part of a statewide campaign to expand access to technology career pathways for students and empower businesses to support cybersecurity education and training. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and California Polytechnic State University lead this event, in conjunction with government, academic, and business leaders.

“GO-Biz congratulates North Hollywood High Team Togo and all the students who participated this year,” said Panorea Avdis, GO-Biz Director. “But the real winner is the state of California, as we celebrate the next generation of cybersecurity innovators and entrepreneurs, who will protect everything from our personal health data to the deployment of autonomous vehicles.”

After regional qualifying competitions throughout the spring, 16 teams from the Bay Area, Central Coast, Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Orange County, Sacramento, and San Diego competed for the title of state champion. The teams represented a diverse group of California communities and schools, and included a military academy, an entrepreneurship school, and two all-female teams.

The 16 teams participated in competitions designed to hone their understanding of the threats and opportunities associated with the “Internet of Things,” or any device that can connect to the Internet or to each other, on Saturday at the California Cyber Training Complex in San Luis Obispo. They presented their cases and received awards on Sunday on the Cal Poly campus.

A unique combination of challenges tested the students’ understanding of cyber security threats, including the Digital Forensics Challenge, in which they collected and analyzed a combination of digital and physical evidence to solve a modern-day cyber plot. The evidence was hidden in a car associated with the suspects. The students were also put in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company in the CyberPatriot challenge.

“The event was stimulating for the student competitors, who eagerly tackled the chance to test their investigative, critical thinking and teamwork skills in various challenges, assisted by Cal Poly faculty and student interns,” said Bill Britton, Cal Poly’s vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “We were pleased to be able to provide this positive opportunity for the students and look forward to hosting the California Cyber Innovation Challenge again next year.”

GO-Biz lead this event with the CyberCalifornia coalition, a collection of businesses, state agencies, and educational partners dedicated to reinforcing California’s leadership position in cybersecurity. The California Workforce Development Board provided the seed funding for this challenge and for the 2016 demonstration event, held at Sacramento City College. Other coalition leaders include the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Technology, the California Military Department, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Cal Poly.

Competition Results

1) Best Overall Cyber Team: North Hollywood High Team Togo
2) Best CyberPatriot Team: North Hollywood High Team Togo
3) Best Digital Forensics Team: North Hollywood High Team Truman
4) Best New Cyber Team: Coast Union High School, San Luis Obispo

About GO-Biz

GO-Biz serves as the State of California’s leader in job growth and economic development efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, and more.

About Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California’s Central Coast. It’s a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today’s scientific and technical world. Cal Poly is consistently ranked a top university for academics, value and graduates’ salaries.

About CyberCalifornia

CyberCalifornia is a cybersecurity initiative focused on educating California businesses about cybersecurity needs and resources, and connecting California’s robust workforce development system with the needs of California employers. CyberCalifornia is organized in conjunction with the Innovation Hub (iHub) Network, a program administered by GO-Biz.

In a new world of cyber warfare and crime, governments, corporations and individuals are increasingly forced to secure their sensitive data, and cybersecurity skills are becoming a valuable self-marketing tool, say organizers of the Cybersecurity Summer Camp at Solano Community College in Fairfield.

The free camp, from July 17 to 30, is geared for high school students, in the hope they will learn how to be safe in an online environment and possibly spark interest in a future career.

“There’s a big need for cybersecurity professionals that we cannot fill — not just here, but nationwide,” camp facilitator Richard Grotegut said in a press release issued Monday. “It’s not something you can just learn in school. It takes a lot of practice. We want the kids to get started early.”

According to the prepared statement, Grotegut launched a local pilot program in Livermore last summer and this year he established cybercamps at 12 colleges in the greater Bay Area.

The camps provide a hands-on primer of cybersecurity principles, he noted.

Grotegut added that with headline-grabbing computer breaches around the world and millions of people having their personal information compromised, there is a real demand for these types of jobs now and in the future.

“During the weeklong program, students will learn basic computer defenses and vulnerabilities, as well as techniques such as spotting suspicious software and creating strong passwords,” Grotegut said. “The main lesson that students will walk away from after the camp is, that they will understand the importance of cyber safety and how to protect their personal devices and information from outside threats. They will be well-informed users of technology.”

The camp, which is part of the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program, was created by the Air Force Association in 2009.

SCC is at 4000 Suisun Valley Road.

For more information about the SCC cybersecurity summer camp, email Kristie West at [email protected] or telephone (916) 505-5180.