Hardly a week passes by where the news isn’t inundated with stories about the threats posed by cyber threats. Hacks, leaks, DDOS attacks and vulnerabilities are on the front page of websites as well as in the forefront of our minds. The technology industry is constantly striving to keep one step ahead of those who threaten our personal and business information.
Firewalls and security measures help keep hackers at bay, but without fresh talent to keep up on the workload, all of our security precautions could fail. This is precisely why the Air Force Association created the CyberPatriot Competition. The competition asks young people from the United States and Canada to look into discovering and correcting vulnerabilities that could leave us exposed to hackers.
What Is The CyberPatriot Competition?
According to the website, “CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program” and is designed to provide the information and guidance necessary to develop the skills needed to combat cyber threats. This STEM program works across the United States and Canada to inspire young adults and encourage them to pursue technology related fields.
The competition takes teams from across North America to compete in simulated environments to detect and neutralize vulnerabilities found within their system. The website says that the competition places “students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company”. Students then “are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services.” After competing at state and regional levels, the teams are invited to Washington DC to compete in the National Finals Competition for recognition and scholarships for college. Learn more about the competition with this video.
100TB Gets Involved
Michael Fuller - an employee at 100TB - took it upon himself to promote STEM education at a local level by mentoring a team from the area. Fuller explains that he met with the team weekly “to study and practice securing and hardening Linux and Windows servers, as well as a Cisco ASA firewall.” He continues, “The work I did revolved primarily around providing insight and understanding of how Linux works as compared to Windows, as well as how to perform a lot of routine security and hardening tasks on an Ubuntu 14.04 virtual image.”
The team - Team Vanguard - took first in the state and tenth in the nation overall, and is looking forward to competing at a regional level. The team consists of Jared Manning, Curtis Morgan, Hayden Nielsen, Jackson Milne, and is coached by Gordon Anderson and Bonnie Campbell, instructors at Bridgerland Applied Technology College, as well as Michael Fuller as a mentor for the team.