WASHINGTON—Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Monday congratulated Michael Coppola, 17 and a student at Cheshire High School, for winning the US Cyber Challenge’s “Net Wars” Competition.  Coppola beat 75 teams and individuals from a dozen different countries to win the top honor.

              “I want to applaud Michael for his terrific achievement,” Lieberman said.  “Cyber security is a very real threat, so it is encouraging to see young people like Michael taking an interest in such a critical part of our national security.  It will require sustained focus and leadership, along with competitions like the Cyber Challenge, to assure we are prepared to take the cyber threat head on.  I offer my hearty congratulations to Michael and all the other students who have taken an interest in cyber security.”

                The U.S. Cyber Challenge is sponsored by a group of government agencies and private organizations and includes the Center for Strategic and International Studies, U.S. Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center, the Air Force Association, the SANS Institute, and other universities and aerospace companies.  The Challenge’s goal is to discover and train young Americans who can become cyber security leaders.

                The Net Wars competition required participants to figure out how to get into a disk without a password to access an online game and then both defend and attack components within that game.

                 Last week, the Partnership for Public Service issued a report concluding that the government-wide dilemma of attracting and keeping highly-skilled employees is “particularly acute within the federal cybersecurity workforce, creating potential for major vulnerabilities for our national security.”

                 Senator Lieberman is currently drafting legislation to strengthen the ability of the Department of Homeland Security to secure government networks and the nation’s cyber infrastructure.