Cyber 9/12 Project

The Cyber 9/12 Project explores how we should respond the day after a major cyber calamity. Learn More
  • The Day After: Preparing to Respond to National Cyber Crises

    Given that all entities are susceptible to being hacked, how will (not would) a federal government like that of the United States respond to the potential compromise of a critical asset like the Global Positioning System (GPS)? For the fourth year in a row, the Atlantic Council has been at the forefront of proactively tackling such cyber-related national security policy challenges by hosting the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge. The Military Cyber Professionals Association (MCPA) and its members were honored to recently conclude its second year of direct support to the event. Having served as a reviewer, presenter, and judge at the event, here are some reasons why I look forward to the event’s continued growth.

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  • What if a Cyberattack Ignited a War?

    Cyber 9/12 contest participants present policy options to contain crisis

    A cyberattack has brought nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan to the brink of war. An unknown adversary has hacked into a US defense contractor’s computer systems, stolen highly sensitive data, and potentially taken over Global Positioning System satellites. Fighter jets and military radios, along with commercial airlines and mobile phones, are all at risk.

    As tensions escalate, non-state actors falsely claim responsibility for the cyberattack. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan inch toward full-scale war as a Pakistani missile shoots down an Indian commercial airliner that has mistakenly strayed into the airspace over the contested Kashmir region.

    This was the fictional scenario laid out in a simulation at the fourth annual Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge held at American University on March 11-12. Who carried out the data breach? Were civilian GPS systems affected? Did...

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  • An Overview of the Fourth Annual Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge

    40 Teams, 25 Universities, 14 States... 1 Cyber Policy Competition:
    An Overview of the Fourth Annual Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge (Part 1)

    The Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative held its fourth annual Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge on March 11 and 12, 2016. Forty teams from 25 universities participated, along with high-level judges and speakers. American University’s School of International Service hosted the event in Washington, DC. Leidos, FireEye, Symantec, Baker & McKenzie, AU’s School of International Service, and the Military Cyber Professionals Association provided support and funding. This year’s competition continued a strong tradition, while also setting new records. 

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  • Cyber 9/12 Event Featured in Maxwell Air Force Base Blog

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  • Atlantic Council Cyber Statecraft Initiative Concludes Fourth Annual Student Cyber-Policy Competition

    The Atlantic Council’s fourth annual Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge was held on March 11-12 at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. Forty teams competed to offer their best national-security policy prescriptions for combating evolving cyber conflict scenarios. Student competitors came from Arizona State University, Brown University, Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Tufts University, National Defense University, and many more.

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  • Homeland Security Blog Features Cyber 9/12 Challenge

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  • CNBC Features Cyber 9/12 Challenge

    CNBC features the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative Cyber 9/12 Challenge in discussing why more companies are starting to hire hackers:

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  • Contact Us

    C912 Color revised

    For more information or partnership inquiries, please contact Ms. Safa Shahwan, Assistant Director, Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge: Support Us

    The Student Challenge presents a prime opportunity for companies to engage with top policy and technical talent from around the world. With its numerous recruiting events, marketing opportunities, and speaking slots, the competition allows organizations to

    • hire a skilled workforce from a diverse pool of 150+ students;
    • demonstrate thought leadership by fostering trust and understanding through building bridges between the tech and policy communities;
    • connect with leading and emerging experts in major international policy hubs;
    • cultivate multidisciplinary thinking in the next
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  • About the Challenge

    Now in its eighth year, the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a one-of-a-kind cyber competition designed to provide students from across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy and strategy challenges associated with management of tradeoffs during a cyber crisis. Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, it challenges students to respond to a realistic, evolving scenario of international cyber crisis, analyze the threat it poses to national, international, and private-sector interests, and provide recommendations on the best course of action to mitigate the crisis. Since its establishment in Washington, DC in 2012, the competition has expanded its reach globally, with regional competitions across the United States, as well as in London, Geneva, Canberra, and Lille.

    Through the competition, students have the unique opportunity to interact with expert mentors and high-level cyber professionals while developing valuable


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