California Mayors Cyber Cup 2019

LA City Council




The CMCC competition was held on February 23, 2019, simultaneously in twelve locations across California, representing ten regional community events. The competition was based on a critical infrastructure scenario to defend the U.S. power grid. Community volunteers and local businesses joined with hired marketing and event planning specialist to successfully implement their region’s flavor of a celebratory event celebrating the competition.








Cyberhub has launched an effort that has been a dream for so many of us pushing cyber education. You made a Statewide competition happen, you formed the structure and provided the muscle to get it done, and it meant a great deal to our program and to our team to present the cup at City Hall. That was a very special event.

~Carey Peck, Beyond the Bell, LAUSD


Two of the ten regions piloted satellite locations where one venue hosted the main competition and a second venue hosted the satellite competition and the two were connected together via a Zoom video session. Each location had their own community speaker but tied into the main location for the awards.

The Far North hosted the main event at Butte College with a satellite group at Mendocino College. The Inland Empire led at Moreno Valley College and had a satellite group at Mt. San Jacinto College. It’s worth noting that several community colleges in San Diego were contacted about hosting the CMCC event but none responded. The CMCC event was held at the Salvation Army Kroc Center instead. The Orange County CMCC was hosted at Troy High School in order to accommodate over 30 teams in one venue. Coastline Community College and Irvine Valley College both participated in the event.



The competition was a huge success with community members coming together across the state to celebrate cyber competitions. Corporations such as Raytheon, FireEye, Converge One, Sentek Global and others showed up to share what types of cybersecurity jobs their company offers. Local Mayors and Assembly members also showed up at many of the regional events in addition to our state leaders attending the event in Sacramento.

Mario Garcia of CAL-CSIC introduced the scenario at the kick-off of the event as part of the “Task Force” looking to capture the threat actors. Amy Tong, Director of California Department of Technology addressed the Sacramento attendees and awarded medals to the winning teams at the Sacramento location.


Sentek Global’s Hai:ku Cyber Range team provided the competition and the competition platform. Cyber ranges are isolated infrastructure environments that allow simulation of attack, defense and use for training and experimentation purposes. Amazon Web Services provided hosting support for practice and the competition. The game scenario was called “America Dark” and was designed to simulate bad actors trying to bring down the US Power Grid.

California Cybersecurity Task force Commander (Mario Garcia) called on teams to help defend from an attack on the power grid.

Game logistics included:

  • Two access codes for each team: one to the range and one to the scoring server.
  • Team preparation materials hosted on the Cyberhub site.
  • 10-day 24/7 practice period two weeks before the competition.
  • Live support via email for practice period.
  • Phone, Slack, email live support on the day of the event.
  • Green team volunteer as a tech support and motivator for each team.
  • White (Host IT Interface) and Black team (Event coordinators) to make sure everything ran smoothly.
  • Table top scenario game for alternative fall-back in case of catastrophic technology failure.
Moorpark college


By offering a state-wide competition in 12 locations that span the state from San Diego to the Far North, the CMCC brought greater diversity as the chart below shows. Continued efforts to reach tribal nations and remote populations such as Imperial Valley will continue to draw diverse populations of students to cybersecurity. In 2019, income levels were not measured but students came from the inner cities of LA to the fire-devastated areas in the northern regions of Mendocino County and Paradise.

Females made up 22% of the competitors, which is in line with the 20% of women working in cybersecurity as reported by Cybersecurity Ventures.

CMCC 2019 brought new students to cyber competitions with 31% of students being in their first competition, or in their first year. One of the primary goals of the CMCC is to draw more students to cyber competitions and the numbers show an impressive success! This diversity flowed through to other State championship competitions such as the California Cyber Innovation Challenge. They received the most diverse set of teams in their history by admitting the top two teams from each CMCC region.

CMCC 2019 Competitors Experience

CMCC 2019 Competitors by Grade Level

CMCC 2019 Ethnic Diversity

CMCC 2019 Ethnic Diversity

California Mayors Cup was more difficult then CyberPatriot but the experience and challenge was fun. We enjoyed the chance to compete with other schools in our area, instead of schools around the nation. The area was filled with support and love from teammates, teachers, and mentors. I’m so glad to have experience that with my All-Girls team.

~ Alondra Patino


There was much thought and consideration invested in the design of the scenario. We had to ensure that new teams could compete along side very experienced team, perform well and have a good experience. To do this we asked the game developers to work with the following directives:

  • Competitors had to utilize skills within the context of a complex system such as a business or organization.
  • Non-technical tasks relating to governance must be included (i.e. auditing, forensics, policy review, etc.)
  • Structure the flags so teams with no prior experience could achieve a 50% score by leveraging their collective team efforts.
  • To score 75% or greater required multiple team members to capture advanced flags. (Focus on building key traits of Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Persistence and Adaptability)

Following these guidelines Sentek Global’s team designed a game that fulfilled all expectations. New teams performed well yet experienced CyberPatriot teams were challenged and felt the competition was much more difficult than the usual CyberPatriot competition.


In addition to winning a trophy and medals, the first, second and third place winners received digital badge awards. A digital badge is a portable – and a secure digital representation – that can signify many things, such as: learning outcome, experience, competency, specific skills, a set of skills, a certificate program or a course. Traditionally badges are awarded for participation or achievement but fail to communicate to others such as employers or college admissions department what was actually learned or achieved.

We felt that it was critical to map the game “flags” to the NICE Framework, an industry and government recognized standard, which defined the digital badge. This will make these badges very valuable to those earning them as they progress along their career path.

NICE Framework Job Role # Flags
Analyze 2
Collect & Operate 3
Investigate 4
Oversee & Govern 13
Protect & Defend 2
Securely Provision 4

View Badge Definitions at


Community engagement continued through spring quarter as the winning teams from each region presented the regional perpetual CMCC trophy cup to the Mayor from the winning team’s home town. Most presentation were done during a city council meeting to bring further awareness to local government and any community members in attendance. Trophy presentations are always exciting events where the spotlight is on the students and the community is WOW-ed to learn that these students are developing valuable skills and are the future cyber heroes. Some City Managers asked for student contacts in order to offer internships.

Deputy Sector Navigators participated in the trophy presentations to promote ITTP-SEC pathways through California Community Colleges.

Trophy presentations are always exciting events where the spotlight is on the students and the community is WOW-ed to learn that these students are developing valuable skills and are the future cyber heroes.

Over 25 student volunteers and various industry advisors participated in helping Coach over 20 Teams who competed in CMCC 2019... Over 130 students competed in a cybersecurity event, all competitors had so much fun, and everyone went home a winner that day.

- Ed Garcia, Instructor, Computer Networking Systems Engineering Pgm, Moorpark College

The CMCC provided needed exposure to our ICT program, it increased our enrollment and promoted ICT and cybersecurity to the local middle and high schools.

~Linda Fischer, Instructor, ICT- Computer Science Department, Butte Community College


One of the goals of the CMCC for 2019-2020 is to see 1,000 new cyber teams started by the 2020 CMCC, which is being moved to October to align with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The marketing effort leading up to the 2019 CMCC competition resulted in 45 new teams, primarily in two regions: Far North (14) and South Central Coast (12).

The Far North had only 1 registered CyberPatriot team this year and through the efforts of Wendy Porter, Deputy Sector Navigator (DSN) for ICT/DM sector, and Ukiah High School teacher, Edwin Kang, 14 teams were formed to participate in the CMCC. As anticipated, the ongoing activity as a result of the CMCC are notable, as described by Wendy Porter below.

Our Far North Mendocino and Butte Colleges hosted the competition for the first time this year! We were able to get 14 brand new cyber teams from local middle and high schools to join the competition. CORE Butte High School team took home the win and Ukiah High School took second place. This was a huge accomplishment especially with the challenges our schools have faced in light of the recent devastating fires. The CORE Butte team presented the Mayors Cup to Chico City Mayor Randall Stone at the April 16th City Council meeting. It was an amazing experience for these students and their parents. One parent came to me afterward with tears in her eyes thanking me for giving her son something to compete in and celebrate his skills besides the typical sports path. Both Mendocino and Butte County government officials and education administrators are now much more aware of the need for a cyber workforce.

Putting together the CMCC for the first time in the Far North has been an extremely impactful experience. The students of course have benefited but the improved relationships between K-12 and our Community Colleges in Butte and Mendocino have been significant. In Butte County, we have seen two of our high schools working on cybersecurity and IT class articulation with Butte College. This is a result of the faculty involved getting to know each other during the CMCC competition. The other huge win is the new relationship between Butte College faculty member Linda Fischer and Chico State faculty member David Zeichick. Both professors teach cybersecurity and are developing a stronger transfer pathway from Butte to Chico State. David from Chico State is also working with a new cyber faculty member at College of the Redwoods. The love does not stop there. Teachers at these schools are encouraging all of their students and club members to commit to mentoring new cyber teams in our area and to participate in camps and competitions.

The South Central Coast had an equally rewarding marketing effort leading into the CMCC. Through a local marketing agency and work of Paula Hodge, ICT/DM DSN, over 10 new teams were formed from both high schools and the Boys and Girls Clubs in Ventura County. The SCC region ended up with the highest number of teams competing in the CMCC! Ongoing discussions with the Boys and Girls Clubs are underway to support cyber competition teams and cyber camps.

The South Central Coast had an equally rewarding marketing effort leading into the CMCC. Through a local marketing agency and work of Paula Hodge, ICT/DM DSN, over 10 new teams were formed from both high schools and the Boys and Girls Clubs in Ventura County. The SCC region ended up with the highest number of teams competing in the CMCC! Ongoing discussions with the Boys and Girls Clubs are underway to support cyber competition teams and cyber camps.


Funding support from the Community Colleges is to provide the ability to expand the CMCC into the under-served areas in the state by hiring community-based organizations to market and promote cybersecurity awareness and career opportunities. It is crucial, when opening under-served populations, that those promoting the opportunity are a part of their community and “speak” their language. We are establishing a grass-roots community activist network to promote engagement in cybersecurity issues and careers.


A pilot program has been launched in Imperial Valley (IV) to develop methodology for engaging the community in the ongoing efforts. The IV school district and community college were reached prior to the CMCC competition but were not in a position to recruit teams for a satellite location by February. California Cyberhub kicked off the IV community engagement plan in April by presenting the California Cyberhub initiatives and resources to a joint chamber meeting that included 7 Chamber of Commerce Directors from the IV region. The follow-on plan is to provide training sessions on cybersecurity to businesses, youth groups and senior groups. The Dean of Economic and Workforce Development from Imperial Valley College was also engaged to discuss how IVC can host training.


As part of our VISION 1000, we are working closely with CyberPatriot coaches to foster new relationships and encourage non-technical teachers and parents to consider becoming a coach. Currently a video training project is underway for new and prospective coaches. At the heart of the messaging is that we will support them by providing access to technical mentors, so don’t let lack of technical skill be considered as a barrier. We are looking for adults to engage and care about helping to provide opportunities for the youths. We provide an on-boarding process where the new coaches are walked through a process that will help make them successful and feel encouragement, not only for themselves but their new teams. As part of the process, all new teams will be registered in the Cyber- Guild League and receive tips from our Advisory Council.

I was amazed by all of the resources and opportunities for our students interested in cybersecurity. I wish all stakeholders could understand a portion of what we discussed during our coaches training.

~ Marc Tintorer, Teacher of Mathematics, Computer Science, CTE


Aligned with the 2019 Cyber Summer Camps, parents, community citizens, and educators participated in a 10-hour Cyber Coaches Training and Integrated Workshops, during one of two different summer sessions offered. The training consisted of a “deep-dive” into Cyber-Guild’s Coaches Curriculum, NICE Framework Standards, and CyberPatriot to aid the coaches in their endeavors developing cyber teams towards VISION 1000.

Donna Woods, Manager of Academic Relations for SynED, facilitated the workshops which were hosted at Moreno Valley College. Coaches had an opportunity to engage with both beginner and advanced Cyber Camp participants, and experience cyber virtual software images utilized to train teams.

Upon successful completion of the workshops, the newly appointed Cyber Coaches received certificates from Cyber-Guild, CyberPatriot, and special recognition certificates from California Assemblymember Jose Medina, Chair of Higher Education.




In addition to the video training for coaches, we have instituted a program encouraging more knowledgeable competitors to help train other students. Note, this is not age-based, but rather skill-based. There are many middle school students that are more advanced than their colleagues in high school. Competitors are choosing a topic from a list provided and will submit their video session for potential use during cyber camps across the state. In many cases we have observed that it is the presentation skills from these advanced students that is one of their weaker assets. Therefore, this opportunity provides a safe environment to grow a necessary skill for their future careers. It is amazing how well the students do when they are sharing something they really enjoy – technology.


To provide a continual learning opportunity for competitors, the California Cyberhub team is working closely with multiple organizations across the state to provide summer camps for them and helping to align them with their local education sources. Of these organizations one of the most well established is the CyberPatriot Summer Camp program. As such, we have posted their camp information along with others on our website with dates, location by region and a link to additional information. However, we have also gone a step beyond this effort and designed a CyberCAMP Playbook, from California Cyberhub. This Playbook is a manual for setting up a cyber camp in local communities, complete with suggested marketing and community engagement ideas. We believe that cyber camps can be held throughout the year and suggest ideas to host them during school breaks or even as part of after-school activities. Generally, the Playbook is non-prescriptive and offers suggestions. However, we also know that some would prefer a guided experience. Therefore, we have also included a five-day, four-hour, camp plan including lesson plans and activities. The Playbook will be distributed to interested parties only and is not available for simple and general use. The Playbook is based upon eight years of successful cyber camp planning and execution. The hallmark of the camp is on the final day where a luncheon with community leaders and the students takes place. It is an opportunity for the sponsors, educators, and government officials to meet with their future employees and for the students to meet these leaders on a level playing field. The exchange is typically insightful for all. We believe this effort will also help us to achieve our VISION 1000 goal.

Team Competition develops key traits of Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Persistance, and Adaptability.


In 2019, we had two specific regions that were less engaged than others, the Far North and Imperial Valley. As a key result of efforts by the DSN in the Far North, they were able to secure engagement and fostered new teams in time for the CMCC 2019. Imperial Valley was less successful. In fact, at the time, there was zero-pick up by the region. During the time we were promoting the competition and program, the region was not interested and did not wish to participate in any way. Since that time, California Cyberhub representatives were able to do an outreach effort and engage the Dean of the Imperial Valley College along with the Joint Chambers of Commerce. Initial meetings went very well and both organizations were very interested in setting up a workshop for the business community to kick-off the new cyber program being started this fall at the Community College. California Cyberhub was able to solicit a presentation from the former City of San Diego IT Operations and Security Manager, who is now an adjunct professor at National University. He delivered a half-day program where attendees were able to depart the workshop with a draft template for a cyber incident response plan for their organizations. The resulting survey showed the workshop to be valued by the participants, and future requests for more workshops have already been received.

We are still working with the community on building cyber teams for participation in the CMCC 2020 and expect a good presence from both the Far North and Imperial Valley teams.



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