Cal Poly’s California Cybersecurity Institute Hosts Virtual California Cyber Innovation Challenge

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. —Cal Poly’s California Cybersecurity Institute (CCI) hosted the fourth annual California Cyber Innovation Challenge (CCIC) on Oct. 2-4, 2020, that focused on creating an immersive, 3-D virtual experience for challenge participants. The event included event sponsors from the industry, guest speakers and professional judges.

At this cybersecurity championship, student teams were challenged with responding to a fictional storyline of a hacked satellite falling to Earth. They engaged in multiple hands-on, space-themed set designs to solve the cyber mystery the attack.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, 78 teams of California middle school and high school students competed in either the “Intermediate” or “Difficult” divisions and worked on the AWS 3-D Sumerian and Discord platforms to collect evidence and solve the cyber satellite crime. Teams communicated via Discord, where the CCIC team created an engaging platform for students, coaches, event sponsors and event staff could connect and share information.

In the Intermediate Division:“RAWSUGAR” from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach took first place; “San Ysidro 1” from San Ysidro High School, located in a border town of San Diego, took second; and “Cedar lane 1” from Cedar lane Academy in Hacienda Heights took third place. In the Difficult Division:“Amalthea” from North Hollywood High School in Los Angeles took first place;“CyberAegis Pentaquark” from Del Norte High School in San Diego took second place; and “Amador 3” from Amador High School in Sutter was third.

The CCIC 2020 event closed with an awards ceremony featuring a talk from Renee Wynn retired NASA CIO, who gave advice and insight into the cybersecurity industry. CCI’s Henry Danielson, the event’s“Global Range Master,” announced the winning teams and the theme for next year’s challenge, Space Grand Challenge, which will expand to include participants in other states and nations!

“CCIC is the nexus of space and cyber, and now virtual cyber range and experiential gaming. How can you go wrong?” said Bill Britton, CCI director and Cal Poly’s vice president of Information Technology Services and chief information officer. “This is exactly how we focus to develop the next generation of space-cyber protectors.”

Participating students and coaches also expressed their enthusiasm about the success of the event, stating that this year’s CCIC provided students with a variety of new tools and skillsets and created a realistic environment that allowed for studentsto thrive.“This experience helped me bond with my classmates and helped me witness the world of cybersecurity” one student claimed. Another participating student said that the CCIC allowed gave them a “newfound passion”, while other students echoed that the competition was challenging and fun, and they hope to participate again in the future. Overall, the fourth-annual, first virtual CCIC event was a great success. The Cal Poly CCI team is looking forward to conducting an international event next year. For an inside look at the event, check out the videos below or visit

More Online: CCIC 2020 Mission Brief:

Vint Cerf Speech:

Jeff Moss Speech:

ReneeWynn Speech:

About the California Cybersecurity Institute

The California Cybersecurity Institute (CCI) is a robust, multi-agency effort to protect California from future cyber threats through training and research for government, academia, military, law enforcement, first responders and private entities. Located in San Luis Obispo, California, the CCI aims to educate the next generation cyber workforce and provide faculty, students, and professionals with hands-on training and resources. Further information about Cal Poly CCI is available online at


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