Gov. John Carney announced July 14 a new, innovative cybersecurity training partnership between the SANS Institute and the State of Delaware that provides Delaware high school juniors and seniors at least 16 years old and college students interested in a cybersecurity career the opportunity to learn basic cybersecurity skills and test their aptitude through a no-cost online game of discovery called CyberStart.

“Delaware’s future is an innovation economy where technology takes center stage, and our state needs a pipeline of talented cybersecurity professionals,” Carney said. “I am excited that Delaware is able to partner with an organization like the SANS Institute to engage our state’s high school and college students, and encourage them to explore the field of cybersecurity.”

An introductory practice version of CyberStart will be available online July 14-28. Participants who complete five of the eight practice modules will be invited to compete in the full-scale program that will run Aug. 1-28. The practice round is mandatory for those who would like to compete.

Participants do not need prior cybersecurity knowledge. Students from Delaware who excel in the CyberStart game will have the opportunity to share in $150,000 in scholarships for further cyber-education and for $500,000 in scholarships for college and graduate-level training in preparation for highly sought-after industry certifications.

Delaware students will be competing with students from Virginia, Michigan, Rhode Island, Iowa, Nevada and Hawaii for scholarships sponsored by the SANS Institute.

“I applaud the SANS Institute for working to ensure the cyber workforce of tomorrow is available to protect our information and systems. The CyberStart program is an excellent and fun opportunity for students who think they may be interested in cybersecurity to determine if they have the passion and aptitude to pursue it as a career,” Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins said. “I hope young people all across Delaware take advantage of this great opportunity.”

Each player in CyberStart begins as a “cyber protection agent” responsible for protecting an operational base. The student chooses and solves challenges, earning points along the way. A cyber protection agent field manual provides answers to questions that may arise and hints help when players get stuck. When the player has solved a sufficient number challenges at one level, a new level opens up and new challenges appear — for a total of 31 levels.

For information and to play CyberStart, visit digiknow.dti.delaware.gov.