AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — When you think of capture of the flag, it’s taking your opponent’s flag and bringing it to your home base. This game pushed 89 teams cyber and development skills through a virtual challenge using that same concept.

The International Parsons Capture the Flag Challenge is the only time hackers are welcome to attack a network. The competitors put their skills to the test by answering questions from hacking, to defense system programming to reverse engineering.

“They see the future of where it’s going, and they can follow in their footsteps to get where they want to go,” said director for Parsons Cyber, Tom Barnes.

The race was on for more than 165 people worldwide.

“With the expansion of the internet and our critical infrastructure; almost everything has a component that is computerized or turned to cyber,” explained deputy commandant with the U.S. Army Cyber School, Tom Boudreau.

All eyes were focused on the U.S. Army Cyber School challenging the Japan Ground Defense Force. But some local high students got a chance to show off their skills with the pros.

“Normally, we do a lot of cyber defense, and this allows them to see how exactly the other side works,” said I.T. teacher for Evans High School, Steven Hanh. “And where the shortfalls are in the tools.”

The main goal is to improve their hacking skills in a realistic environment.

“Some of them find out that they are good at this,” said Boudreau. “So they can make a good living, and they can do some good things for our nation. That’s our future right there.”

This event is another way to produce great developers.

“Cyber professionals of today are coming from places like this,” explained Hanh. “It’s great they allowed us to have a seat at the table.”

The winners of the Parsons International Capture the Flag Challenge will be announced tomorrow, during the Parsons grand opening at the Georgia Cyber Center.

Photojournalist: Will Baker