Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island - On Saturday December 10th, 2022 at STEAM PEI, Hack the Red Island grinded away in the final round of the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition to achieve great results as Prince Edward Island’s first team to participate in this competition.
Hack the Red Island’s industry mentor, Rob Milman, Manager of Infrastructure and Security at the University of Prince Edward Island, comments on the experience, “we learned a lot; had fun and I think we’ve paved the way for other teams to be even more successful. Many of the team members want to pursue careers in cyber security and I feel this is a great way to not only learn about the industry but also to understand what it’s like to work together as a team. I have a vested interest in seeing more cyber security professionals on the island because there is a shortage of these valuable resources. Thanks again to Priya and the PEI IT Alliance for reaching out and asking me if I wanted to help”.
Hack the Red Island was formed by the PEI IT Alliance in September 2022 through a national initiative to have at least one team represented from each Atlantic Canadian province in this year’s CyberPatriot competition. Hack the Red Island is coached by Priya Jain, the COO of the PEI IT Alliance, and is made up of five students attending high school in Charlottetown: German Ivkovich, Mohamad Eyad Allaham, Persehaj Singh Baidwan, Adnan Hussein, and Kalan Rattray.
On Saturday, Hack the Red Island participated virtually in the State Round with over 3000 teams worldwide to gain as many points as possible in six hours. Using each other’s varying skills, the team found and fixed security vulnerabilities in Windows 10, Server 2019, and Ubuntu 22, and completed networking exercises. The team’s dedication and hard work gained them 100.75 out of 400 points which placed them in the top 44th percentile of 800 teams in the gold tier.
Hack the Red Island’s commitment to performing well improved their cybersecurity skills as well as their teamwork skills. The dedication to the team resulted in an overall positive experience. Rattray comments, "I felt this competition helped my comfort level with working with computers. It was a great experience to do what I enjoy doing with others with similar mindsets”.
The team’s efforts also laid the foundation for the future years to come. A major hurdle the team faced was the search for resources to familiarize themselves with the competition and solve the challenges. The students assembled all the resources to guide future teams, in hopes that successive teams can be even more victorious.
The team’s strong performance in the competition grew them recognition and impacted the IT community. Team coach, Priya Jain, comments, “this competition revealed the amazing talent in Prince Edward Island. The students did not only compete. They chatted with CEOs and IT professionals, explored their post-secondary school and career options, and inspired STEAM PEI to start a community computer club on the weekend. The students have already been approached by IT companies with job opportunities in PEI”.
The PEI IT Alliance is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to grow the IT sector in Prince Edward Island, with one initiative being to offer more IT opportunities for Youth. The PEI IT Alliance is looking for students to grow the program and add more teams in next year’s competition.
If you, or someone you know between grades 6-12, is interested in joining the cybersecurity team for 2023/24, please reach out to Priya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hack the Red Island at STEAM PEI in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. From left: Priya Jain (coach), Adnan Hussein, German Ivkovich, Persehaj Singh Baidwan, and Mohamad Eyad Allaham.