By Dwight Harp, 704th Test Group
/ Published August 22, 2019
Cyber Patriot Camp participants show off their hard-earned t-shirts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dwight Harp)
Future cybersecurity in the Air Force is in good hands. Twenty-four Alamogordo high school and middle schoolers recently joined more than six thousand other U.S. students during the eleventh year of the Air Force Association sponsored Cyber Patriot Camp.
Cybersecurity is of the greatest importance in this technological age. The Air Force Association launched its first cybersecurity Cyber Patriot program as an answer to this increasing threat eleven years ago.
The initial year of in-person competition sported seven Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps teams and one Civil Air Patrol team, as a proof of concept event. This year, 6,387 teams participated. They were categorized into three divisions: Open, which was primarily high school and middle school students; all service, which is built around JROTC units from all services; and CAP units.
From its inception, the Cyber Patriot exercises have had a central theme--find cyber-system vulnerabilities and harden the defense against them. The first one focused strictly on a Microsoft Window’s system.
This year, our local Cyber Patriot Camp supported students from Alamogordo High School, home school, on-line school and Legacy Academy. The camp ran five days, from Monday, July 29th thru Friday, August 2nd, with competition on Friday highlighting student achievement and mastery of the subjects.
The week’s topics included an introduction to Cyber Patriot, cybersecurity career opportunities, cyber ethics, online safety, how computers work, virtual machines, and cyber threats. Students also received basic Windows security policies and tools, account management, file protections, auditing and monitoring skills training. Students were introduced to Linux, Ubuntu 16 terminology and concepts, basic graphical user interface security, introduction to command line security and intermediate Ubuntu security. Each student followed and worked with a Ubuntu 16 demonstration image. Basic command line security and intermediate Ubuntu security instruction preceded a student follow along session as the whole group worked with the Ubuntu 16 demonstration image.
The camp was co-proctored by Manuel Klaassen, of AHS and Heather Kangas, 704th Test Group Science Technology Engineering and Math Coordinator. Additional volunteers from the community and HAFB assisted.
Cyber Patriot, the nation’s largest and fastest growing youth cyber education program, is AFA’s flagship STEM program dedicated to strengthening cyber skills among American youth.
Cyber Patriot sub-titles itself as the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. Each student received a citation and a Cyber Patriot t-shirt.