LAKELAND — On Nov. 2, Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18) hosted a beginner-level cyber Capture the Flag (CTF) tournament for Central Florida students at Florida Southern College. This event was designed to inspire our youth to pursue careers in cybersecurity and STEM-related fields.
“At a time when cyberthreats from foreign adversaries like China are escalating, we must act to address the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in this country,” Rep. Franklin said. “Events like this challenge and inspire the next generation to develop the skills necessary to meet our high-tech security needs. Thank you to Cyber Florida, Florida Southern College and the educators and community leaders who helped make this event a success.”
A CTF tournament is a computer security competition, like a hackathon. Student competitors are divided into teams of four and presented with hacking challenges. The team that solves the most problems, captures the most flags and wins the tournament.
More than 130 students from schools across FL-18’s eight counties attended the event, including Moore Haven Middle-High School, Bartow High School, George Jenkins High School, Lakeland Christian School and McKeel Academy. Teams from McKeel Academy in Lakeland, Florida took the three top spots.
Representatives from the following organizations were in attendance to share information about careers in cybersecurity and higher education opportunities: City of Lakeland Information Technology Department; Polk County Sheriff’s Office Computer Crimes Unit; Cyber Florida at the University of South Florida; Florida Southern College Computer Science Department; United States Special Operations Command J6; Thrive Networks.