EWU Charts Another Cyber Cup Victory

February 12, 2024

The 5th annual Spokane Cyber Cup challenge, hosted this year by EWU at the Catalyst, attracted a record number of high school and college students who competed for top honors.

This year’s competition brought together 172 cyber sleuths from 18 different schools. Teams of up to five members each took on 50 different challenges during the Feb. 10 event. (Visit KXLY’s website to see the station’s coverage of the event.)

A team from Eastern which included Alex Moomaw, Lewis Thomas, David Parker, Tristen Greene, and Robert Rutherford, won the upper division competition, which was comprised of teams with previous cybersecurity experience. Washington State University took second place, while a team from University of Washington finished third. [In April 2023, the EWU Cyber Defenders won a national championship at the NCAEW Cyber Games in Tampa, Florida.]

In the lower division, a talented team of first-time participants from Spokane Valley’s Central Valley High School pulled off a surprise win.

“It was really incredible to see a high school team beat the college students,” says Stu Steiner, an event organizer who also directs the EWU Center for Network Computing and Cybersecurity. Two of those Central Valley students are heading to Eastern this fall, he added.

Team VQLB from Central Valley High School won the lower division competition. Students pictured from left to right are Lillian Miller, Ben Buzard,Vivian Miller and Quan Do.

During the competition, teams took on challenges that ranged from hacking into an airline ticketing scanner to changing ring tones in hijacked phones. Some 45 high school teachers, university faculty members, and industry professionals served as coaches during the daylong event, which continues to grow in complexity each year.

“Last year we had 30 challenges, and they were all solved. This year we had 50 challenges and 49 of the 50 were solved,” says Steiner.

The event was sponsored by Spokane Cyber Cup, a nonprofit group focused on developing cybersecurity talent in the greater Spokane area. Planning has already begun for next year’s event, which will also be held the day before the Super Bowl.

“Even though it was a competition, everybody walked out of the building learning something—something new, something they had never done before — and everyone had an incredible time,” Steiner says.

The following schools were represented for Saturday’s competition:

  • Central Valley High School
  • Ferris High School
  • John R. Rogers High School
  • North Central High School
  • Shadle Park High School
  • Clover Park Tech
  • Columbia Basin College
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Lake Washington Tech
  • Montana State University
  • North Idaho College
  • SFCC
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Washington
  • Washington State University
  • Whitman College
  • Whitworth University