HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – Students from Michigan Tech took part in the first CyberBoat Challenge this week. Hosted by Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC), the event worked with industry partners and other universities to understand and conquer maritime cybersecurity challenges.

About 20 students from Michigan Tech participated in the event, which is designed to help answer the demand for a workforce that knows how to respond to cyber threats by land, air, and sea. The challenge included three days of intensive hacking into navigational and operational systems, including making the boat run aground using hardware, software, and system reverse engineering.

Instructor Jeremy Daily, associate professor of systems engineering at Colorado State University and a CyberChallenge co-founder, hauled a boat to Michigan Tech’s GLRC location to be used as part of the event. In the research center boathouse, students also hacked GLRC’s autonomous Yamaha WaveRunner and a smart buoy.

Along with the fundamentals of Controller Area Network communications protocols, students learned the legal, ethical, and moral responsibilities of the work in the transportation sector. CyberAuto and CyberTruck challenges took place as well.

CyberBoat Challenge co-founder Duncan Woodbury says the event will return to the GLRC next year. Sponsors for the event included the national Smart Ships Coalition, headquartered at the GLRC, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.