New England Tech Lands Top-Finish in National Cyber Security Competition

NEIT Faculty Member Leads Team to Top-Tier Finish in Cyber Security Competition

New England Tech's Jesse Roberts leads a high school team to a top-tier finish in a national cyber security competition.

New England Tech’s Jesse Roberts leads a high school team to a top-tier finish in a national cyber security competition.

Through the months of October to January, New England Institute of Technology Assistant Professor of Network Engineering and Cyber Security, Jesse Roberts, led a team of four students from East Greenwich High School to a top-tier finish at the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The team placed number one in the state of Rhode Island and was one of two teams to compete in the highest tier in the state of Rhode Island. The CyberPatriot competition includes nearly 1,700 teams competing from across the United States.

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. The organization was conceived by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire students toward careers in cyber-security or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.

At the center of CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The competition puts teams of high school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Each team receives access to the Microsoft Developers Network Academic Alliance. This allows the team to download several operating systems and productivity tools that can be used to prepare for the competition.

Before the rounds of competition, teams download “virtual image” representations of operating systems with known flaws, or cyber-security “vulnerabilities.” Teams must find the flaws while keeping computer functions (such as email “services”) working. Team progress is recorded by a central CyberPatriot scoring system.

In the later rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cyber-security vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services.

Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region. Teams which reach the platinum tier in each state get a chance to compete in the regional competition. Top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, MD for the National Finals Competition where they compete face-to-face against other teams to defend virtual networks from a professional aggressor team. Winners of the National Finals are awarded scholarship grants.

“The students from East Greenwich High School were amazing, as was the East Greenwich High School cyber security coach, Donna Wayles,” says Roberts. “Sam Delong, Anthony Agatiello, Bryce Ingram and Conor Mason are extraordinarily talented young men. I’m happy to see them so interested in Cyber Security especially given the current state of affairs in the industry. The competition is a great tool to get younger kids more involved in this rapidly growing industry.”

#CyberSecurityAtNEIT #CyberPatriot

New England Tech Partners with Rhode Island Cyber ACES Online

Rhode Island Cyber ACESRhode Island Cyber Security Competition comes to Rhode Island.

New England Tech along with the Rhode Island Department of Education, the RI Science & Technology Advisory Council, and the Tech Collective join Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) in offering the Rhode Island Cyber Foundations Competition.

Known as Cyber Aces Online (ACES), the competition is designed to identify and nurture talented individuals who can become the future cyber policy professionals for United States companies and government agencies.

Because the nation is facing a shortage of cyber security professionals, the Cyber Aces Online competition was developed to offer individuals a fundamental knowledge of cyber security.

Deemed as one of the most effective Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) competitions in the nation, ACES is an entry-level competition focusing on a series of increasingly challenging contests sponsored by the Cyber Aces Foundation. This organization works to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by identifying, recruiting and placing the next generation of cyber security professionals.  The three areas of study will include networking, operating systems, and system administration.

“It is clear that sufficiently securing our networks, whether in government or the private sector, will require a well-trained cyber security workforce. As a result of efforts such as the Rhode Island Cyber Foundation Competitions, the RI Cyber Disruption Team, and the University of Rhode Island’s annual Cyber Security Symposia, we are building a statewide consortium that will work to expand the cyber security workforce in Rhode Island, while meeting the increasing need for a strong public-private relationship in cyber space,” said Congressman Langevin.

In past years, the competition was only open to high school students.  However, this year, in addition to high schools students, all teachers, administrators, college students, veterans, job seekers, and those seeking a career change are invited. Participation in the competition is free!

Cyber Aces Online has two parts:

  1. Online tutorials, video and audio education materials that allow participants to expand their knowledge
  2. Quizzes that allow participants to demonstrate mastery

All topics have a separate set of educational materials and a separate test. Each tutorial module ends with an online competition day quiz where participants’ skills will be tested in a series of questions. Competition day quizzes can be completed in 40 – 90 minutes. After all the three quizzes are completed, the final ranks will be determined by the participants’ cumulative scores.

Winners are then eligible to receive a range of prizes from awards and recognition by government and business leaders, to invitations to Cyber Aces Academies, internships, and scholarships.

Individuals interested in participating in this exciting competition should visit  www.cyberaces.org to register or contact Erin Flynn, Manager of Admissions Outreach and Events at NEIT as well as the Rhode Island Cyber Aces Online State Coordinator, for more information. High schools, after school programs, Civil Air Patrol teams, computer clubs and other groups are welcome to register as well. The registration deadline is Friday, October 12, 2013.  The competitions are scheduled as follows: October 15-16: Competition for Module 1; November 5-6: Competition for Module 2; December 18-19: Competition for Module 3; December 31: Access to content expires. 

As Langevin stated, “These education and training opportunities will direct young people into cyber security and other industries with high growth potential, and provide them with the tools to be competitive in the modern job market. As the cyber security workforce grows, it is also my hope that additional training programs will be developed for unemployed or underemployed individuals looking for new challenges. I believe that Rhode Island can and must be a leader in cyber security, and I hope that our efforts will grow into a national model for harnessing young talent.”

“New England Tech is proud to once again work as an affiliate partner of the Cyber Aces Competition,” stated Flynn. “The mission of the program is to build a future workforce with the cyber security skills required to meet the high demand in both the private and public sectors. We are pleased to be affiliated with this most important program.”