The Air Force Association (AFA) is providing a premiere national high school cyber defense competition that is designed to give hands on exposure to the foundations of cyber security. CyberPatriot is not designed to be a hacking competition, but rather the goal is to excite students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The first CyberPatriot “games” took place in 2009, at AFA’s 25th Annual Air Warfare Symposium where seven Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) teams and one Civil Air Patrol (CAP) team from the greater Orlando area competed. The event has grown since that time to include not only JRTOC and CAP units, but has expanded to include an open division that is open to teams from accredited public or private institutions or a registered home school association.
A CyberPatriot team consists of five students and up to five alternates with each team having a coach. The students must be at least 13 years old and enrolled in grades 9-12. The teams will have mentors (technical advisors) to help students prepare for the competition and the CyberPatriot program works with coaches to find mentors for their team.
The competition uses virtual machines and tests the students’ abilities to identify several security vulnerabilities within a certain amount of time. The teams successful in three rounds of competition ultimately compete in the National Championships held in Washington, DC.
Registration for the competition ends October 8, 2011. More information about the competition, the history, and the goals can be found at http://www.uscyberpartriot.org
Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director