Ben Shirani/The Paisano

The University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), held their first annual Cyber Threat Defender Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 6.

The tournament was held in the UTSA Student Union Ballroom 1 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m and participants competed at a card game developed by the center.

The card game “Cyber Threat Defender,” is a two-player game in which players are tasked with defending a network of assets including computer systems, firewalls and network uplinks against things like denial of service attacks, password cracking and malware.

According to CIAS Senior Communications Coordinator Julina Macy, “Cyber Threat Defender was developed about two years ago by the CIAS at UTSA as a way to teach cyber security terminology and defense strategies in cyber security to students, primarily in middle school and high school.”

Macy stressed that the game is designed to teach defensive strategies and does not promote the red team or offensive gameplay.

Information Security Project Lead at the CIAS Josef Klein, described the CIAS as “cyber security training and competitions center” that primarily does training for state and local governments.

Klein also said there is a P.C. version of Cyber Threat Defender available and a Mac version in progress.

Macy estimates that the card game is used in about 300 schools.

CIAS developed Cyber Threat Defender as a gateway in hopes of getting middle school and high school students involved in cyber security.

Macy says that the hope is for younger students to transition from Cyber Threat Defender to cyber programs for high school students, like Cyber Patriot and then to cyber programs for advanced individuals like the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

Thirteen-year-old Farah Alsmadi says she played Cyber Threat Defender over the summer after hearing about it from her dad, a professor at Texas A&M University in San Antonio.

“My Cyber Patriot teacher introduced it to us last year and I have been playing around with my friends over the past year or so. Cyber Patriot is a program at our school where we do challenges with people all over the United States,” said Jasiri Parks, a sixteen-year-old high school sophomore and second place winner at the tournament.

In Saturday’s Swiss Style non-elimination tournament, Hamza Alsmadi took first place, followed by Jasiri Parks and Zach Long in second and third, respectively.

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