Cybersecurity Gains a New Way to Learn More


Valeria Garcia

Cyberstart is a online website where players have 60 minutes to explore and solve cybersecurity themed puzzles. This image shows the page that students wanting to start will see to begin their journey in solving many problem solving cybersecurity puzzles.

Valeria Garcia Alcala, Reporter

High schoolers now have a chance to learn about cybersecurity and compete using picoCTF and CyberStart without having to pay or leave their homes.

According to CyberStart’s website, CyberStart is an online learning website where users can choose puzzles from many different sections such as decoding numbers, hacking, finding locations and plenty more as stated on These puzzles are all cybersecurity related and they range from easy, medium, and hard. The website is completely free, but students have 60 minutes to play and complete as many puzzles as possible.

“Welcome to CyberStart Go, your chance to experience life as a cyber security professional!” reported. “You have 60 minutes to play through as many of the challenges as you can. Good luck!”

Picoctf is a free Cybersecurity competition for both middle and high school students. This an image of the get started page and website which helps to get started and learn more about the website. (Valeria Garcia)

Cybersecurity student Diego Mendez has tried CyberStart. He said that he really liked the fact that the game gave both easy, medium, and hard options because he can choose to challenge himself or go easier.

“I would recommend it to other students to try because it is an interesting website to use. Maybe some students can be interested in CyberStart,” Mendez said.

Another site to try is PicoCTF. It is the largest cybersecurity hacking contest for both middle and high school students created at Carnegie Mellon University as stated on For this competition, students must overcome a set of six challenges from six different sections of cybersecurity, including general skills, cryptography, web exploitation, and forensics.

“The challenges are all set up with the intent of being hacked, making it an excellent, legal way to get hands-on experience,” picoCTF’s website reported.

Cybersecurity teacher Sharona Thompson said that picoCTF allows students to think critically, learn new information, and practice new skills. Thompson also said that even if the students don’t choose cybersecurity as their career, they will still have learned life, career, and workforce skills. Thompson lastly stated that she would advise students to at least try out both CyberStart and picoCTF.

“You don’t know what you’re good at until you try,” Thompson said “I’m hoping students will surprise themselves by how much they can learn, how well they can solve problems, and how much fun cybersecurity can be.”