CyberSecurity Club boots up for international competition


Kathryn McAuliffe

Examining his code, senior and CyberSecurity club Vice President Kesava Viswanadha works to secure images as preparation for the CyberPatriot competition. Viswanadha has been a member of Cyber Security club for three years. “We get to deal with real life scenarios and troubleshoot and aim to make types of operating systems cyber secure,” Viswanadha said. “It matters and is important because so many people today get scammed or trapped when they’re not cybersecure.”

Routers humming, screens aglow and fingers typing, CyberSecurity Club prepares for their upcoming international competition Saturday, Oct. 26. As part of CyberPatriot, an international organization dedicated to youth cyber education, the team will compete in hopes of attending nationals later this year. 

“I am excited to compete this weekend because of CyberPatriot’s intellectually challenging nature and all of the intricate details that go into it. The competitive nature and aspect that the club fosters in it’s members [makes CyberPatriot] fun,” Vice President and senior Kesava Viswanadha said. 

 The team will compete to secure images given to the teams by the CyberPatriot organization by coding programs and algorithms that will digitally protect the image. Members will work in pairs to secure images that are stationed on various web servers, further securing the web server itself.

“We’re trying to get a perfect score [on securing] two of the images. I think it’s attainable because this is our third year doing it, and we’ve grown a lot as a team,” founder, President and junior Sri Jaladi said. “We think we can do it because we’ve done a lot more preparation, and last year, we were pretty close. It’s really fun; it makes a loud “Mario Kart” noise when you get more points, so it’s a fun and competitive environment. We want the perfect score for [the feeling of] achievement.”

The team prepared by learning from past competitions and errors so they can improve their time and speed.

“We created a checklist from last year, so every time we found something wrong in an image that we had to fix, we wrote it down so we have it this year. All that time we spent finding all that last year we don’t have to spend this year,” Jaladi said. “At the same time, we’re trying to write scripts so it will automate the process for us so we can focus on more difficult vulnerabilities. We’ve been securing practice images too that aren’t official, but users have made themselves.”

In addition to competitive goals, CyberSecurity Club hopes to host help sessions and inform the Parkway community on matters of cybersecurity.

“This year we want to get out a newsletter or regular email sent out to parents and students in Parkway to give them cybersecurity reminders,” Jaladi said. “We already hosted one cybersecurity workshop event but would like to host more, [hopefully] around five times a year. We want to work with the district a bit more [on matters of cybersecurity].”