In an increasingly digital world, it has become more important than ever before to be well versed in using technology. Digital tech is used for almost everything these days. Everyday, Mount Saint Joseph students use iPads to connect to online class assignments. Although these advancements in technology have brought convenience, they have also introduced the risk of being hacked. No system is perfect, and hackers find ways to exploit vulnerabilities in devices.

B431A92D-E2F1-4DAE-BC12-AE3D2975C130Mount Saint Joseph’s CyberPatriots club is looking to find solutions to this problem. The club participates in a nationwide competition organized by the Air Force Association. By learning how to recognize and fix issues in computer operating systems, members of the club are gaining the necessary skills to improve cyber security.

I interviewed Mount Saint Joseph juniors Pierson Polcaro, Jack Phelps, and Martin Blurton-Jones to get a view into the club.

Pierson Polcaro

Q: What does the club do?

A: We fix vulnerabilities on virtual computers. We get sent an image of a computer system, and we fix problems with it.

Q: When did the club start?

A: I think it started last year.

Q: What is the objective of the competitions?

A: To fix the most problems.  You don’t get told what the problems are, so you have to find them and then fix them.

Q: How far have you guys gone in the competition? What teams got the farthest?

A: My team got the farthest.  We were in the platinum tier and we made it to the semifinals.

Jack Phelps

Q: What does the club do?

A: Cyber security. Basically we have disc images with built in vulnerabilities that we have to find and fix. It’s on multiple operating systems like Windows and Linux. We also participate in the Cisco Networking challenge which has a quiz and a packet tracer.

Q: When did the club start?

A: This year is the tenth competition, but the club started last year.

Q: How far have you guys gone in the competition? What teams got the farthest?

A: We got to the semifinal round. One team was in the platinum tier – that was Pierson’s team. It’s the top 30% I think.

Martin Blurton-Jones

Q: What does the club do?

A: CyberPatriot is all about teaching cyber security by giving students an in-depth look at operating systems, networks, and the vulnerabilities that plague both.

Q: What is the objective of the competitions?

A: During a typical competition, teams of students are given “virtual machines”, pre-designed systems set with specific vulnerabilities (such as viruses or risky system settings), which students are then given points for fixing or removing.

Q: How far have you guys gone in the competition? What teams got the farthest?

A: The farthest our school has gotten would be my team, Team PBJ, a team of all juniors. The team made it all the way to the semifinals of the platinum tier (the highest tier within the competition).1BEF6AC3-7879-4269-A240-DA01DE54E07D