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Statler College students place among top 15 in DOE’s CyberForce Competition

Sam Kidder and Heather Fetty

Two WVU students placed among the top 15 in the United States Department of Energy’s CyberForce Competition. 

Sam Kidder and Heather Fetty, both cybersecurity majors in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, were among 450 students who were accepted into the 2020 virtual competition. Kidder placed 10th in the competition and Fetty placed 12th.

“As a part of the competition we were placed into a simulated network with active attackers and told to defend our ‘company’ from incoming attacks,” Kidder said. “This competition simulated a production computer network takeover where the previous IT employees did not care for security. It is these types of competitions that benefit us much more in our education, even more so than the classes themselves.”

The company Kidder and Fetty had to defend was a wind farm. Both students inherited vulnerable machines a few weeks prior to the day of the competition and had to secure them as much as possible to ensure the machines could withstand being attacked from hackers.

“On the day of the competition, there was a team actively attacking our machines, and we were scored on finding and mitigating these attacks,” Fetty said. “We were also given points for answering live questions and completing anomalies. These points were all combined to give us a final score of the competition.”

Both students work together in Research Associate David Krovich’s Cybereers research lab and are officers of the CyberWVU club.