SANDPOINT — Ting Sandpoint sponsored two youth teams in the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory’s annual Capture the Flag Ethical Hacking cybersecurity competition on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Ting volunteer mentors and coaches worked with two teams, CtrlAltElite and Vector90, guiding them through a series of challenges that required competitors to solve cybersecurity dilemmas and crack codes. CTF is an entry-level cybersecurity competition for high school and college students. No prior experience is required and the event is free for participants.
Sandpoint youth competed against 46 teams from across the U.S. as well as Estonia and Equador. CtrlAltElite and Vector90 were the first teams from Sandpoint to compete in MAGIC CTF and the only representatives from the West Coast.
CtrlAltElite consisted of Chloe Martin, Joel Hill, Andrew Wittmann and Dylan Martin. Team Vector90 included Colleen Morgan and Amy Morgan. Students worked on teams to solve a series of cybersecurity puzzles set up in a Jeopardy-style format.
“The Magic event was a great introduction to ethical hacking, and the techniques and software used in the field. I’ll definitely be coming back for next year’s event,” said Joel Hill.
The competition on Nov. 3 was live streamed from the Community Media Center of Carroll County in Westminster, Md. MAGIC is a local non-profit in Westminster, and is dedicated to making sure the economic development potential of the Westminster Fiber Network is fully realized. Westminster is another “Ting Town,” where Ting Internet is the network service provider of crazy fast fiber Internet, with speeds up to 1,000 Mbps.
MAGIC was established to create a space for tech innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive. The organization works to increase students’ interest in cybersecurity and prepare them for future careers in technology and cybersecurity.
Technology talent and high-speed broadband networks are two essential ingredients for innovation and growth. The fiber network in the city of Sandpoint and other Ting Towns are key points of leverage to attract talent, encourage learning and stimulate economic development.
Sponsors like Ting help MAGIC provide beginner level, tech experiences at no cost to students or families. Members from the Ting OSP team, Ash Updike, Mike Cochran, and Sean Morgan volunteered over the weekend to coach students through their challenges and help them with new software and techniques.
“It was very exciting to hear the buzz in the room, watch the participants lean in, strategize, theorize and then celebrate when they found the solution. Then on to the next challenge,” said Kari Saccomanno, city manager for Ting.
MAGIC’s executive director, Amy Rupp, added “Ting has been a long time supporter of MAGIC and we are excited to have another Ting town involved in MAGIC’s Capture the Flag cybersecurity events. This event connects communities around the world with an interest in preparing their workforce for future careers in technology and cybersecurity. MAGIC is grateful for Ting’s support and involvement in both Sandpoint and Westminster. The fiber networks of these towns are key to attracting talent, stimulating economic development, and creating a thriving tech ecosystem.