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Students invited to compete in Bio-Cybersecurity Student Challenge March 26-27

Students invited to compete in Bio-Cybersecurity Student Challenge March 26-27
Written by publisher team

CSU offers students a fun entry to an emerging career field – plus cash prizes – at the annual Bio-Cybersecurity Student Challenge event on March 26 and 27.

Bio-cybersecurity is a fancy word for protecting critical equipment, data and operations in the life sciences industry. It is a vast and growing field, involving biotechnology manufacturing, hospitals and medical care, laboratory research, agriculture and more. It’s a growth industry propelled in part by pandemic-related research and advances in DNA technology, global competition in biosciences and a move toward sustainable production of chemicals from biomass instead of petroleum — trends tethered by an internet infrastructure vulnerable to hacking.

9.4 million jobs

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization estimates that the bioscience industry in the United States accounts for about 9.4 million jobs and $2.6 trillion in annual economic output. That makes it a ripe opportunity for college students seeking jobs.

“CSU is uniquely positioned to explore the vulnerabilities of life sciences and the bio-economy to increase cybersecurity threats and to develop solutions,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research at CSU. “Addressing these challenges will require multidisciplinary research collaboration and new educational efforts.”

Capitalizing on CSU’s special resources, including labs and faculty, the Bio-Cybersecurity Student Challenge will acquaint students with the industry, bridge to professional contacts and help build skills that could lead to internships or jobs.

About the game

At its heart, the event is a two-day game of strategy, cyber-sleuthing and science acumen. Students will match wits and computer skills in a series of group challenges much like capture-the-flag games of childhood. CTF is a computer-based contest where teams try to penetrate websites or computer systems to find prizes, or flags, inside.

“These events provide real-word experience and hands-on training, which employers love to see. CTF play on a resume is always a great thing to show,” said CSU alum Marshall Livingston, founder of the KryptSec bio-cyber club at CSU, which won the 2019 challenge event. A video of Livingston discussing the club and game is available online.

Teams accumulate points based on performance in a series of challenges, and prizes are awarded based on totals. Cash prizes totaling $5,000 will be distributed after the event concludes. Free food is provided for all during the competition. Play is scheduled for 9 am to 9 pm March 26, and 10 am to 6 pm on March 27, in room 136 of the CSU Biology Building.

Contests are tailored to all skill levels and are open to all students and clubs, especially from biology, health sciences, computer science and engineering.

Connecting with Discord

In addition, CSU is working with corporations to support the event and connect recruiters with students, either live during game play or via the online Discord channel created for the event. Discord is also a great place for students to connect with other participants, build teams or learn more about the event.

“Creating strategies for reducing bio-cybersecurity risks interdisciplinary teams, and this student challenge event will be a special opportunity for students from different majors to develop their skills together in a fun learning environment,” said Ken Reardon, associate dean for research for the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering and the Jud and Pat Harper Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

The Bio-Cybersecurity Student Challenge is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and hosted by Mantel Technologies Co.

For more information, or to register for the event, visit the website or send queries to: vpr_biocyber@colostate.edu.

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