Murray State University Utilizes EC-Council’s CyberQ Range to Challenge Hundreds of High School Students at Tech Mania 2021

Murray State University’s Cybersecurity and Network Management program in Murray, KY challenged nearly 400 High School students at their annual Tech Mania event to validate skills in Cybersecurity and encourage students to pursue Post-Secondary Cybersecurity degrees.

[Tampa, FL, May 18th, 2021] Murray State University, a public university in Murray, KY and EC-Council Academia Partner since November of 2019, has been one of the very first universities in the US to introduce the new CyberQ platform to high school students in a Capture the Flag (CTF) competition format. Last month from April 12th through April 21st, Murray State University ran their annual Tech Mania event, an event that focuses on raising awareness for Cybersecurity, and challenging high school students at all levels with a competitive CTF session.

The competition focused on the following challenges within the CyberQ platform:

Preliminary Challenges

My First Blue Flag:

This Experience taught students how to play single player Red and Blue. This type of exercise allowed students to see an attack from both sides and to test countermeasures.

My First Red Flag:

This Experience guided students through the Red Console to help them capture their first red flag.

(“My First Blue Flag” and “My First Red Flag” within CyberQ)

Main Challenge: 

Murray State University CTF CyberQ Challenge

The main challenge offered the following upfront scenario for the students:

“Kevin, who is part of the R&D team of the company, has allegedly stored a recording of a confidential R&D meeting recently in his company issued production system. The recording contains highly confidential information pertaining to the latest product due to be released by the company. You are working in the company as a White-Hat-Hacker and are a highly trusted member of the CEO’s inner circle. You have been tasked to gain access to the targeted file and stop the corporate espionage by a malicious employee.”

(“Tech Mania 2021 Challenge” within CyberQ)

Students were then advised their target machine was a Linux Ubuntu OS. To capture the flags, students had to obtain administrative privileges on the machine by performing various attack techniques. Many of these hands-on attack techniques including System Hacking and Vulnerability Analysis are covered in Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

“Starting in 2018, Tech Mania provides opportunities for high school students to work in a competition format with the goal of encourage students to explore real world experiences in technology.” said Michael Ramage, director of the Murray State University Center for Computer and Information Technology. “Thanks to the EC Council and the CyberQ platform, students were able to use the same tools as cybersecurity professionals. The students had a lot of fun and learned more about technology and cybersecurity as well.”

Dr. Michael Ramage offers virtual introductions and support to student competitors in the Tech Mania event.

In addition to the CTF portion of Tech Mania, students were provided with a half dozen short videos from cybersecurity professionals who were able to share their cybersecurity career journeys. The individuals sharing their experiences were all Murray State University alumni, working in a variety of cybersecurity roles ranging from gaming, healthcare, military support, and financial services. With this added layer within the event, students were not only able to play and learn about cybersecurity tools, but also were encouraged by learning more about career pathways that match their needs and interests.

“Chris Sanders, Founder of Applied Network Defense, shares his cybersecurity journey from rural west Kentucky to becoming a trainer for other cybersecurity professionals.”

Furthermore, EC-Council and Murray State University look forward to working together in the future to help encourage students to pursue education and careers in the highly lucrative field of Cybersecurity.

About Murray State University Cybersecurity and Network Management Program:

Murray State University is now among 325 schools in the United States which have been designated by the NSA as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) for Cybersecurity.  Institutions are designated and accredited based on their robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge unit (KUs) validated by top subject matter experts in the field. The Department of Home and Security (DHS) and National security Agency (NSA) jointly sponsor the CAE program and CAE-CD institutions receive formal recognition from the U.S. Government for participating in the program.  The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and expertise in cyber defense. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing fields, and students attending schools with either the CAE-CDE designation are eligible to apply for grants and scholarships through either the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program or CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program.

About EC-Council

International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, also known as EC-Council, is the world’s largest cyber security technical certification body. Operating in over 145 countries globally, EC-Council is the owner and developer of the world-famous Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (C|HFI), Certified Security Analyst (ECSA), License Penetration Testing (Practical) programs, among many others. EC-Council is proud to have trained and certified over 200,000 information security professionals globally that have influenced the cyber security mindset of countless organizations worldwide. For more information, visit In May of 2018, EC-Council launched the EC-Council Academia Partner Program. This program offers a no obligation partnership model where Secondary and Post-Secondary institutions can register and receive immediate benefits that are highly beneficial to their Cybersecurity degree programs.

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