Tufts team places highly in cybersecurity competition

A team of Tufts computer science students, coached by an alum, won second place in a recent regional round of the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge run by the Atlantic Council.
Four separate team members in Zoom screenshots
Clockwise from top left: Team members Grant Versfeld, Akash Mishra, Ann Marie Burke, and Mike Rogove.

The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is an annual global cybersecurity policy competition designed to provide students across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with cyber crisis and conflict. Students interact with expert mentors and cybersecurity professionals while attempting to solve problems like assessing the impact of a major cyber attack, considering national responsibilities, and thinking through response options for the government and private sectors. This year, teams participating in the January 2021 round were asked to create policy responses to a fictitious ransomware attack that would target hospitals as the COVID-19 vaccine was distributed.

Eighteen teams participated in the January 7-8 event, hosted virtually by the Strauss Center at the University of Texas at Austin as a regional round of the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, and the competition was fierce. A Tufts University team comprised of computer science students won second place after impressing the panel of judges – cybersecurity experts acting as the U.S. National Security Council – with the options they presented.

Team ETERNALBLUEANDBROWN made a number of key recommendations, including declaring the fictional COVID-19 ransomware crisis a “significant cyber event” and calling upon the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to coordinate between hospital companies and law enforcement to fix the ransomed devices, requesting a presidential address within 48 hours to reassure the public of the trustworthiness of healthcare IT systems, and dispatching Army Reserve and National Guard members to construct field hospitals that would support the healthcare system.

Congratulations to team ETERNALBLUEANDBROWN on their second-place finish! Team members were:

  • Ann Marie Burke, A22 (computer science),
  • Akash Mishra, A22 (international relations/computer science),
  • Mike Rogove, computer science MS student, and
  • Grant Versfeld, A21 (computer science/science, technology, and society), working with
  • Alum coach: Keifer Chiang, A20 (computer science/international relations)

Learn more about the Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge and about the January regional round.

Computer Science