August 7, 2017
News Release

Pink Elephant Unicorn: PNNL Brings Cybersecurity Competition to Students, Public


Students and community members learn about cybersecurity and then put their skills to the test during the Pink Elephant Unicorn competition.

Credit: Eric Francavilla / PNNL

More than 70 students and community members joined the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory staff over the weekend for an immersive and fun experience in cybersecurity education.

From simple computer viruses to complex, targeted cyberattacks, few people have the ability to recognize vulnerabilities in networks, implement measures to protect sensitive data, and prevent future malicious attacks. This is why PNNL created "Pink Elephant Unicorn" — a unique cybersecurity capture the flag competition. Despite its whimsical name, the event has a serious mission. "We focus on novice users — people interested in cybersecurity careers. Here, they learn the concepts and techniques with subject matter experts in a supportive and fun environment," said Daniel Best, PNNL cybersecurity researcher and founder of Pink Elephant Unicorn. "It's about education and new people getting the confidence to move forward to learn about this exciting field."

Held twice a year, once in Seattle and once in Tri-Cities, Washington, the event is open to Lab staff, students and the public. Learn more in the Facebook Live video below.

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About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.