March 24, 2020

A team of SIPA students won the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge hosted by the Atlantic Council on March 20 and 21. Congratulations to team members Patrick Dees MIA ’20, Sarah Husain MIA ’20, Sarah Quirk MPA ’20, and Virpratap Vikram Singh MIA ’20 [pictured below].

The event was originally slated to take place in Washington, D.C., but moved online as a result of Covid-19-related shutdowns. All told, 23 teams took part, including eight in a professional track and 15 in a student track.

According to SIPA’s Jason Healey, a senior research scholar who served as adviser, the SIPA team competed in the event’s professional track because some of its members had previously worked for the government. A team from American University triumphed in the student side of the competition.

Participants in both tracks responded to a fictional cyber attack against ports, shipping, and navigation that escalated in severity over the competition's first two rounds. Organizers hinted that the attack may have been conducted, at least in part, by a domestic anti-capitalist hacker group that sought to overtax the worldwide economy. The final round of the scenario featured a twist in which North Korea was said to be attempting to smuggle and sell a “dirty bomb” to an Indian terrorist organization.


Patrick Dees, Sarah Husain, Sarah Quirk, Virpratap Vikram Singh.