Interested in Cybersecurity? Play CyberStart!

CyberStart Launch Party, Fri., Feb. 14, 3 p.m. in Falk 200

CyberStart logoDo you like online games and pizza? Are you curious about cybersecurity, a rapidly changing field with negative unemployment?

Join us for the CyberStart launch party (with pizza!) on Fri., Feb. 14, at 3 p.m. in Falk 200. Attendees will have the opportunity to demo the CyberStart video game and talk with cybersecurity experts from Syracuse University.

CyberStart is an online game for problem-solvers who welcome a challenge. Open to all Syracuse University students, CyberStart offers an opportunity to learn more about the cybersecurity profession, test your problem-solving skills and learn new technology.

The first round (CyberStart Go) consists of unscored gameplay. At the end of the first round, interested students will have the opportunity to move on to the competitive round (Cyberstart Game) in March. This stage offers more advanced challenges and is scored by ITS. The top scorers from the second round will receive access to CyberStart Essentials, which provides a deep dive into cybersecurity technology equivalent to roughly 70 hours of professional training.

Check back for or follow ITS on Instagram for updates. Email with any questions not addressed by the FAQ below.


What is CyberStart?

CyberStart is a program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and developed by the SANS Institute to identify and train the cybersecurity professionals of the future.

How does it work?

CyberStart is part game, part training and part competition. Players take the role of a security professional trying to catch various hackers. Players are presented with a set of challenges at varying levels of difficulty.

Challenges have hints and tips to help the player solve them, and players learn as they play. The game is designed for all skills and knowledge levels, including someone who has never considered a field of study or career in technology.

CyberStart is delivered in three phases.

Phases? What are these phases you speak of?

So glad you asked.

Phase I: CyberStart GO 

CyberStart GO is a one-hour challenge open to ALL Syracuse University students. Its intent is to give students a feel for the game and to help them discover if they have an interest in continuing to Phase II.

CybeStart GO will kick off at our Pizza Party on February 14 from 3:00-5:00 pm in Falk 200.

Phase II: CyberStart GAME. 

Students who played GO and register to continue with the program will receive a license to play CyberStart GAME. (License limits may apply.)

CyberStart GAME is like GO, but much more extensive with 240 challenges! Solving lower-level challenges unlocks higher-level challenges, and GAME includes a reference guide to help students learn and hints to help students progress.

GAME is scored as a competition, and scores are tabulated by ITS to determine who gets invited to Phase III. Phase II will run from March 12–April 10.

Phase III: CyberStart Essentials

CyberStart Essentials is by invitation only to the top scorers of CyberStart GAME (approximately 35-40 students). Essentials is less of a game and more of a learning environment with modules and labs that cover a broad range of cybersecurity skill sets. It is self-paced and entirely up to the student to progress through the nearly 70 hours of FREE training.

The ITS Information Security Department might interview students who take part in Essentials for a paid student job in our Security Operation Center (SOC).

Wait…a job?

Yes, a part-time student job. While any student is eligible for a position in the SOC (see Handshake for listings), taking part in CyberStart Essentials helps ensure that candidates have the skills we seek.

What do I need to play?

First and foremost, you need to have an interest. You’ll also need an internet connection, a laptop/computer and a web browser. (Note: Smartphones and tablets do not work well with the CyberStart environment.)

I’ve never taken any classes in cybersecurity or information technology. Would I be wasting my time if I tried to play?

Absolutely not. CyberStart GO is designed to help technical AND nontechnical students discover if they have interests and skills that translate to cybersecurity. You only need to invest an hour of your time to see if you really have the interest to continue building your skills with GAME.

How do I get started?

Bring your laptop to our Pizza Party on February 14 from 3:00-5:00 in Falk 200. Play around with Cyberstart GO. If you want to keep going, we’ll tell you how to get into CyberStart Game.

Do I have to go to the Pizza Party to play?

No…we’ll communicate how to get into GO after the party for those who couldn’t make it, but why not come?  Free pizza, free soda, free cookies.  You’ll also get a chance to meet some of Syracuse University’s Info Sec staff members.

How long do I have to play?

CyberStart GO will officially run until February 29, but you can play on your own at any time.

The CybeStart GAME competition will run from March 12-April 10. After that, you can continue to play GAME until August 31 if you’d like, but we will no longer be tracking your progress.

CyberStart Essentials can be played until November 30.