CyberSecurity educational app wins 2017 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 49th Congressional District represented by Darrell Issa

WASHINGTON, DC – Today 190 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives will announce the winners of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge. Over the last four months, thousands of students coded original apps as part of district-wide competitions hosted by Members of the House.

The Congressional App Challenge aims to engage students in coding and computer science. In all, 190 Congressional districts across 42 states hosted app challenges for their student constituents. Congressional participation was widespread and remarkably bipartisan.

The office of Representative Darrell Issa is happy to announce California’s 49th Congressional District winner to be the  PentaHex app created by Pranav Patil and Maximus Novak. This team attends Del Norte High School in San Diego. Pranav and Maximus created this app to provide students with a variety of resources on cybersecurity topics that can guide them in Capture The Flag competitions. A  Capture The Flag  competition (CTF competition) is a cyber security challenge which encourages students to learn about cyber security and ethical hacking.

“By participating in CTFs we’ve learned a lot by decrypting challenges or exploiting vulnerabilities. The process can be very foreign and our app makes this learning opportunity more accessible,” the team asserts. There are millions of job openings in cybersecurity and a growing need for cybersecurity professionals. PentaHex aspires to introduce students to CTF in high school and encourage cybersecurity majors in college.

Over 4,100 students participated in the 14-week regional competitions. They submitted over 1,270 original student-created apps, a 96% growth in number of apps from last year’s Challenge. The rest of the winners are listed online at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to view the announcements of winners from each Member of Congress.

The Congressional App Challenge will invite winners from across the country to showcase their apps to the Members of Congress and members of the tech community at #HouseOfCode, a reception on Capitol Hill to be held in April 2018. Their work is eligible to be featured for one year on the permanent display in the U.S. Capitol Building and on the website. Each winning student will also be awarded $250 in Amazon Web Service credits, generously donated by Amazon Web Services.

Congratulations to all the students who participated!


About the Congressional App Challenge

The CAC is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, managed by the Internet Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The first three years of the program yielded 605 challenges across 42 states. Over 2,400 apps were created by over 8,800 students, and participant demographics surpassed the tech industry’s best gender, racial and geographic diversity metrics.

The 2017 Congressional App Challenge is possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: Capital One, Microsoft, Democracy Fund, Verizon Foundation, Amazon Web Services, the United Parcel Service, the BSA Foundation, CA Technologies, Cognizant and the Copyright Alliance. The Challenge also owes gratitude to Representatives Bob Goodlatte and Anna G. Eshoo, co-chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus, who requested and supported the creation of the CAC. Additionally, thank you to Representatives Illeana Ros-Lehtinen and Tim Ryan for serving as 2017 App Challenge Co-chairs.