President's Cup Cybersecurity Competition

Established in response to Executive Order 13870, the President's Cup Cybersecurity Competition is a national cyber competition aiming to identify, recognize, and reward the best cybersecurity talent in the federal executive workforce. Hosting challenges from across the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Framework, competitors will face a diverse array of challenges and will require an extensive skill set to succeed.

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2022 Teams Competition

Registration: Aug 8-Aug 30, 2022
Qualifying Round 1: Aug 22-30, 2022
Qualifying Round 2: Sep 26-Oct 3, 2022
Final Round: Dec 7-8, 2022

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2022 Individuals Competition

Registration: Aug 8-Sep 13, 2022
Qualifying Round 1: Sep 6-Sep 13, 2022
Qualifying Round 2: Oct 17-24, 2022
Final Round: Dec 5-6, 2022

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PCCC Practice Area

Practice demo challenges and content from past President's Cup competitions

Archive Site
Play Challenges from Past Rounds
GitHub
Challenge Source Code,
Solution Guides, and Virtual Machines

As announced at:

cisa.gov/presidentscup

New for 2022

Welcome to the 2022 President's Cup Cybersecurity Competition! For those of you who competed in previous years—we're glad to have you back. For those of you who are competing for the first time in 2022—we're glad you joined us. Good luck to all participants, new and returning.

Here are some important updates to this year's competition:

Cross-Department Teams

Teams can now include participants from different departments and agencies. Join others across the government wherever they work.

With this rule change, the top scoring team from each Department will no longer automatically qualify for Round 2 as in past years. Only the top 20% of scores in Teams Round 1 will advance to Round 2. See FAQ #21

Gamespace Package Repositories

Package repositories from the Internet have been mirrored inside the President's Cup challenge environment. The current build includes Kali and Python (PyPI), and we are working on others. If the default VM for a challenge does not include a package, you can install additional ones via the normal commands (apt, pip, …).

More Practice Resources

  • Archive Site Available. The Archive Site is back! Here, players can practice President's Cup challenges from past competitions as a team or as an individual. All of the game cards are on the Archive Site organized by round from the President's Cup 2021 competition.
  • Open Source Updates. The prescup-challenges GitHub project has new practice resources this year, including solution guides and challenge code from 2020-2021 and virtual machine builds for this year.

Gameboard Improvements

  • Support Inside Gameboard. Competition support is now integrated within the Gameboard web app. Participants can create support tickets from a deployed challenge or from the new Support link at the top of the gameboard. The new Support link is where participants view, update, and track the status of support tickets. When created from a deployed challenge, new tickets already include the challenge name, support code, and game.
  • Streamlined Registration. The registration process is streamlined to include numbered steps, clearer requirements, and additional instructions, making it easier for participants to register for the competition.
  • Round Completion Certificates. When each round of the competition is over, participants can view and print completion certificates of their achievement. Certificates will be available from the Profile page in the Gameboard.

Final Words

Please review all of the rules, FAQs, and videos before starting the competition, but pay particular attention to:

Thank you all for your participation and best of luck in the 2022 President's Cup!

Media

Videos

Images


Continuous Session Timer

Register/Enroll

2022 Teaser

2022 Desktop Backgrounds

Competition Rules

Conduct

  1. Violation of the Rules of Conduct as outlined may result in disqualification from the competition.
  2. Enforcement of the Rules of Conduct is at the discretion of the Competition Staff.
  3. Competitors will conduct themselves in a manner that befits employees of the Federal government and members of the Uniformed Services in all aspects of the competition.
  4. When choosing team and individual names, competitors will follow OPSEC best practices and not use real names, work location, or other identifying information. Competitors will also refrain from any names that are vulgar or political in nature (In accordance with the Hatch Act). Names will go through an approval process before appearing on the leaderboard. Inappropriate language, references to political persons or parties, or otherwise inappropriate content will be asked to be changed. The competition aims to support morale building, esprit de corps, and friendly rivalries between military units, and government departments and agencies. The competition staff reserves the right to ask any team or individual to change their name and maintains final judgement on what is acceptable.
  5. Classified toolsets are not authorized for use. All challenges are designed to be solved using open source tools including those provided on the hosted virtual machines
  6. Any attempts at unauthorized access or “Denial of Service” attacks are forbidden and will result in disqualification. “Escaping” the virtual machines or otherwise tampering with or targeting the hosting environment is prohibited.
  7. Competitors will not disclose any information involving the challenges to anyone during the respective round outside of their competition team.

Team Composition

  1. Participants can only be on one team and cannot change teams during the competition. Once a team has started the competition, enrollment for the team is locked, and team members CANNOT be changed later in the competition.
  2. Teams of 2 to 5 members can be from any federal Executive Branch department or agency.
  3. Detailees to an external department can represent their home or detailed department. For example, a member of the Coast Guard detailed to DoD's US Cyber Command can be on a DoD or a DHS team.
  4. Detailees should seek approval of both their home agency and detail supervisor, including agreement on which agency will be responsible for awards.
  5. Team members must be government civilian employees or military service members. Government contractors are NOT allowed to participate in the 2022 President's Cup.

Time and Challenge Submission Restrictions

  1. During the qualifying rounds, teams have 8 hours to complete as many challenges as they can. Individuals have 4 hours per track to solve as many challenges as they can.
  2. In the event of a tiebreaker, the "Cumulative Time" figure will be used to determine who moves on to the Final Round. The Cumulative Time is the total time spent in challenges successfully solved. This is calculated using a timer specific to each challenge on your game board. When you start a challenge, the timer starts. When you successfully solve a challenge, your score and cumulative time are updated.
  3. Correct answers will vary based on the challenge format and the questions being asked. Please refer to each challenge description which will clearly articulate the format of the answer.

Registration

  • Teams: Starts at 9:00 AM ET on August 8, 2022 and ends at 4:00 PM ET on August 30, 2022
  • Individuals: Starts at 9:00 AM ET on August 8, 2022 and ends at 4:00 PM ET on September 13, 2022
  • Participation in the President's Cup will be closed after these dates/times.

Support and Contact Information

Starting with the 2022 competition, support requests will tracked in the new President's Cup gameboard support interface. Participants create support tickets from a deployed challenge or from the new Support link in the navigation bar. Navigate to this location within the game to view a ticket's progress and communicate with the President's Cup support team.

While the President's Cup support email address (prescup-support@sei.cmu.edu) is still available, requests for help received via email will be routed through the new Support feature by help desk staff.

Please add as much detail as possible including screen shots, challenge Support Code (found in the lower-right corner of the challenge pane), any system element(s) involved, and any error messages you may have received.

Hours of Operation

The President's Cup Cybersecurity Competition is open for participation 24/7 during registration and qualifying. Support during registration and qualifying is available:

  • Registration period: Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET
  • Qualifying rounds:
    • Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 11:00 PM ET
    • Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET
  • Finals: Support throughout Finals
  • Hours are Eastern Time

PLEASE NOTE: Support availability is limited on weekends during the competition; participants who choose to compete during this time do so at their own risk. Please make use of the 2022 Practice challenges to ensure access and compatibility before competing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below you will find some commonly asked questions and answers to help you with 2022 President's Cup. If you can't find the answer here, please contact us.

  1. What does "Cumulative Time" mean on the leaderboard?
  2. I'm a government contractor and I want to participate. Am I eligible?
  3. Will I need any special software or applications to participate in the President's Cup?
  4. How does each round's continuous session timer work?
  5. Does my score carry over from one round to the next?
  6. How are ties handled?
  7. I saw that the Finals are an in-person, two-day event. Where are the Finals held?
  8. I heard about the President's Cup too late to sign up. Will there be a President's Cup in 2022?
  9. My agency wants to enter two teams in Qualifying Round 1. Is that possible?
  10. One of my team members dropped out after Qualifying Round 1. Can I replace them with someone else for Round 2?
  11. When does registration for the competition start?
  12. You mention that the competition challenges will be mapped to the NICE Framework. Where can I get more information on the NICE Framework?
  13. I'm eligible to participate in the President's Cup, but I don't have a team. Can I participate as an individual?
  14. I'm a detailee and I want to participate. Which organization do I participate with—my original agency or my detailed agency?
  15. Can I participate on more than one team at a time?
  16. What if I can't access my .gov/.mil email?
  17. Can I copy and paste between my host and the gamespace virtual machines?
  18. If I reach my limit of virtual gamespaces (5 for teams, 2 for individuals), can I move on to another challenge?
  19. Is partial credit available for challenge submissions?
  20. Is there a recommended format for answer submissions?
  21. President's Cup Support is asking for my “challenge Support Code”. Where can I find it?
  22. How are teams selected to advance to Qualifying Round 2?
  23. How are individuals selected to advance to Qualifying Round 2?
  24. How are teams and individuals selected to advance to the Finals?
  25. What happens if I qualify for both the team and individual Finals
  26. Are Service Academy Cadets eligible to participate?
  27. I participated in President's Cup last year. Should I create a new account or use my existing one?
  28. Can I publish thoughts, opinions, or walkthroughs of the President's Cup Challenges?
  29. Will we be able to access the Internet in the challenge environments?

0.

What does "Cumulative Time" mean on the leaderboard?

The Cumulative Time column is only used for tiebreaking purposes. When a challenge is started, a timer tracks how long it takes to solve that challenge. The sum time of all successfully solved challenges is posted to the leaderboard under Cumulative Time. Again, this is for tiebreaking purposes only.

1.

I'm a government contractor and I want to participate. Am I eligible?

No. Government contractors cannot participate in the President's Cup.

2.

Will I need any special software or applications to participate in the President's Cup?

No. All that is needed for the first two qualifying rounds is an up-to-date web browser and your registered account. Supported browsers are: Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

3.

How does each round's continuous session timer work?

A session timer starts when you click the "Start Session" button on a Gameboard's welcome page. After starting the session, you/your team will have a limited amount of time to complete as many challenges as you can.

The session time limits for the 2022 competition are:

Competition Session Time Limit
Teams Competition 8 hours
Individuals Track A 4 hours
Individuals Track B 4 hours

The session timer runs continuously and cannot be paused. Your round score is determined by the sum of all successful challenges completed during your session.

PLEASE NOTE: For the Teams competition, any team member can start the session.

4.

Does my score carry over from one round to the next?

No. The score for each round starts at zero.

5.

How are ties handled?

In the event of a tiebreaker, the "Cumulative Time" figure will be used to determine who moves on to the Final Round. The Cumulative Time is the total time spent in challenges successfully solved. This is calculated using a timer specific to each challenge on your game board. When you start a challenge, the timer starts. When you successfully solve a challenge, your score and cumulative time are updated.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Your challenge timer does not stop if you "delete" a challenge space or go work on another challenge. If you start a challenge, then start and work on another challenge, and return to your previous challenge, your challenge timer is still running.
  • Time spent in challenges failed, or challenges started and not finished, does not count towards your cumulative score. You won't be penalized for trying!
  • Your overall competition time is still capped at eight (8) hours from when you launch your first challenge.
6.

I saw that the Finals are an in-person event. Where are the Finals held?

Determination will be made in the coming months if the 2022 Finals will be held on location at a CISA facility in Arlington, VA. If held on location, agencies will be responsible for travel of their personnel if they qualify.

7.

I heard about the President's Cup, but it is too late to register. Will there be a President's Cup in 2023?

Yes. The competition is held annually by CISA per Executive Order 13870

8.

My agency wants to enter two teams in Qualifying Round 1. Is that possible?

Yes. A department or agency can enter more than one team in the competition.

9.

One of my team members dropped out after Qualifying Round 1. Can I replace them with someone else for Round 2?

No. Once a team is established, members cannot be added. You have the option to compete without that team member.

10.

When does registration for the 2022 competition start?

Registration for President's Cup 2022 opens on Monday, August 8th and closes on Monday, August 22nd for Teams and Tuesday, September 13th for Individuals.

11.

You mention that the competition challenges will be mapped to the NICE Framework. Where can I get more information on the NICE Framework?

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) provides a comprehensive review of the NICE Framework.

12.

I'm eligible to participate in the President's Cup, but I don't have a team. Can I participate as an individual?

Yes. Participants can compete either as part of a team, as an individual, or both. Round 1 is open to any and all Federal employees.

13.

I'm a detailee and I want to participate. Which organization do I participate with—my original agency or my detailed agency?

Detailees to a specific agency can participate on a team for their detailed agency or their home agency subject to the approval of both their home agency and detail supervisor, including agreement on which agency will be responsible for awards.

14.

Can I participate on more than one team at a time?

No. You can only be a team member on one team.

15.

What if I can't access my .gov/.mil email?

If you cannot access your .gov/.mil email during registration please contact presidentscup@cisa.dhs.gov to verify your federal employment.

To use multi-factor authentication without access to your .gov/.mil email, visit your Identity profile and select Configure 2FA. You'll need to be logged in for this, so be sure to do this while you do have access to email.

There you can generate a Time-based One Time Password (TOTP) secret key. Use this secret key with any totp-enabled authentication app, such as Duo Mobile or Google Authenticator, by simply scanning the barcode. If you don't have access to your device, copy down the secret key and later input it into the TOTP app on your device.

16.

Can I copy/paste between my host and the gamespace virtual machines?

Yes. The cog button in the upper-left corner of the virtual machine console allows you to move text bidirectionally between your host and that virtual machine.

17.

If I reach my limit of virtual gamespaces (5 for teams, 2 for individuals), can I move on to another challenge?

Yes. If you start a challenge but would like to move on to another challenge without finishing it, you can DELETE that gamespace. However, the challenge timer will not stop. When you return to this challenge, you can RESTART the gamespace in its original state.

18.

Is partial credit available for challenge submissions?

Yes. All 2022 President's Cup challenges have multiple parts which allow competitors to earn partial credit. Each challenge part includes the number of points awarded for providing the correct answer.

PLEASE NOTE: When you click the Submit button, ALL of your answer parts will be sent to the grading server, and you are limited to THREE (3) submissions per challenge. This applies whether or not you leave any answer fields empty.

19.

Is there a recommended format for answer submissions?

Correct answers will vary based on the challenge format and the questions being asked. Please refer to the example answer provided beneath each answer submission form field.

20.

President's Cup Support is asking for my “challenge Support Code”. Where can I find it?

The challenge Support Code can be found in the lower-right corner of the challenge pane. The Support Code looks similar to this: a347c5c6.

21.

How are teams selected to advance to Qualifying Round 2?

The top 20% of teams based on their final scores advance to Qualifying Round 2 as well. No time-based tiebreakers are used to calculate the 20% cutoff, so all teams tied at the score cutoff will advance.

22.

How are individuals selected to advance to Qualifying Round 2?

In the Individuals competition, the top 100 scores in each track advance to Qualifying Round 2. There are no tie-breakers; all tied for 100th place in each track will be invited to continue. Qualifying Round 1 leaderboard scores are used to determine the cutoff line, and no time-based tiebreakers are used in this calculation.

23.

How are teams and individuals selected to advance to the Finals?

The top five (5) teams and top ten (10) individuals in each track will advance to the Finals based on each respective leaderboard at the end of Qualifying Round 2.

24.

What happens if I qualify for both the team and individual final rounds?

The final rounds for the President's Cup team and individual competitions will be held on different days. Competitors who qualify for both final round events will be able to compete in each one without a conflict. Furthermore, each Individual Track final will take place at different times, allowing for someone to participate in both if they should qualify.

25.

Are Service Academy Cadets eligible to participate?

Service Academy Cadets are eligible and encouraged to participate! Cadets can register with their .edu email address, or contact the help desk at prescup-support@sei.cmu.edu and we will work to get you enrolled.

26.

I participated in President's Cup last year. Should I use my existing account or create a new one?

If you are using the same email address as last year, use the Password Reset option to gain access to your existing account.

27.

Can I publish thoughts, opinions, or walkthroughs of the President's Cup Challenges?

Competitors can publish thoughts, opinions or walkthroughs but should wait until the end of the respective round. Publishing before the end of a round is in violation of Competition Conduct Rule #7 and could result in removal from the current President's Cup.

27.

Will we be able to access the Internet in the challenge environments?

No. The required tools to solve a challenge will be included in the challenge environment. Internet connectivity is removed to keep the integrity of the competition and ensure there is a level playing field for all participants. Mirrors of standard application repositories (Apt and Pip) are provided for use inside of the challenge environment to install additional tools on the provided virtual machines.