Team Validity, from left, Jayson Hayworth, Taylor Kina, Tim Gunderson, Gabriel Farinas and Bryan Tanaka

For the second time in three years a team made up of University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu and Honolulu Community College students and recent graduates won the National Cyber League competition, considered to be the country’s leading collegiate educational cybersecurity challenge.

In late April, the group known as Validity outperformed 263 other teams to take the top spot in the spring 2018 competition. Two other groups from Hawaiʻi—the Grey Hats team from UH Mānoa and another team from UH West Oʻahu—finished 5th and 17th, respectively.

Validity consisted of four recent UH West Oʻahu and Honolulu CC graduates—team captain Jayson Hayworth, Bryan Tanaka, Gabriel Farinas and Tim Gunderson), and a current UH West Oʻahu student, Taylor Kina. The group had nearly a perfect game and earned 3,000 out of a possible 3,000 points with more than a 97 percent accuracy rate.

“We all played with each other on teams before and understood how to play to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Tanaka. “It made for a great team composition.”

We named it Validity (with the thought of) ensuring that everything we do is verified and corrected by each other.
—Jayson Hayworth

The National Cyber League provides cybersecurity training in a simulation environment requiring participants to work individually during the regular season events and in teams for post-season competition. The events are designed for participants to solve real problems with actual deadlines under time, technical and resource constraints. Approximately 3,350 college and high school students competed during the spring 2018 regular season, with 981 of them moving on to post-season competition in teams.

Validity worked on problems ranging from password cracking and wireless access exploitation, to open source intelligence and log analysis. It had hoped to achieve a 100 percent accuracy rate but knew the goal was elusive. Hayworth said the team will continue to work on its documentation practices and figuring out how not to miss an answer.

“We named it Validity (with the thought of) ensuring that everything we do is verified and corrected by each other. That same process we utilize when submitting answers to challenges,” said Hayworth.

All five members of Validity were members of a UH West Oʻahu Hawaiʻi Advanced Technology Society team made up of UH West Oʻahu and Honolulu CC students that won the competition in December 2016, becoming the first team from the state to win the prestigious national contest.

For more, read the full story at E Kamakani Hou

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