Three Cadillac High School Students Win First Place at State Wide Cyber Challenge

“With all sorts of fields becoming electronically controlled from automobiles to banking, to home security to phones, all the information that we have, people can get access to,” said Andrew Whipple, a teacher and cyber security coach at Cadillac High School.

Cyber security continues to be a concern for those online.

Students at Cadillac High School are learning about hacking and programming, as the field of cyber security grows.

“Seeing these guys in class, knowing their capabilities, knowing their interest in programming, I thought they’d be skilled so I got them together,” said Whipple.

Joshua Jacobson, Gavin Phillips and Tucker Bachman became the dream team for this year’s Governor’s High School Cyber Challenge, winning first place.

They were one of 201 teams participating.

The senior of the group says bringing home the gold his senior year is something he’s very proud of.

“It’s been a few years in the making for me and I’m really proud to represent my school and my community with this,” said Joshua Jacobson. “We worked at it we practiced a lot and then we get to the competition and we were really successful.”

But what’s the hack to their success?

“We put in a lot of time and work after school and at home to study up,” said Tucker Bachman, a junior at Cadillac High School. “We sort of divided up the work and will each study certain aspects of cyber security.

When it came time for the competition, these guys were feeling pretty confident and had developed their own strategies to be successful.

“A lot of the competition is team work and how you effectively communicate and work with the other people because I know for a fact we wouldn’t have done nearly as well as we did if we had only one of the three of us,” said Jacobson.

The competition is set up with a virtual city called Alpha Ville. It’s filled with schools, a library and government offices.

Each have a website with information about the institutions and the virtual people involved.

“The challenge for these guys is to hack into the different facets of this city and to get the information that they can and they get points for each information that they gather and each level of challenge that they face,” said Whipple.

While finding the security flaws, students outline important real-world advice.

“If one company gets breached and you used the same password there as you use at all of your other sites, there’s a chance that then that password is going to be in the database somewhere that hackers can use to get into your accounts,” said Jacobson.

He also mentions to avoid running any programs unless you are confident you know what they are.