The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) recently tested future military leaders during the 10th Annual Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX) held on April 20-23, 2010.
The CDX is a cyber security competition designed to foster education and awareness among future military leaders about the role of Information Assurance (IA). Lockheed Martin hosted the competition at facilities in Greenbelt, MD.
Teams from the US Air Force Academy (USAFA), US Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), US Military Academy (USMA), US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), and the US Naval Academy (USNA) participated in the exercise. Also participating in the exercise were the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), and the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) – as graduate-level institutions, these schools were scored on the same basis as the undergraduate schools, but were not eligible for the trophy. All student teams were part of the “Blue Cell,” the defensive team for the CDX.
During the exercise, network specialists (Red Cell) challenged teams in their abilities to defend the computer networks that the students had designed, built, and configured at their respective schools. The entire CDX is conducted on virtual private networks, providing a closed environment without interference to public networks. The students were graded on each team’s ability to effectively maintain network services while they detected, responded to, and recovered from network security intrusions or compromises.
The U.S. Naval Academy took the trophy this year, scoring the highest in defending its network against the Red Cell’s attack.
Students had to overcome several challenges, from the expected network obstacles to several new ones created for the 10th anniversary of the CDX.
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