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Military Academies Take on Nsa in Cybersecurity Competition


A military person in cybergear.

Teams in the Cyber Defense Exercise detect intruders, eradicate malware, and adapt to the attacks of opponents.

Credit: Computerworld UK

The Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX) is an annual cybersecurity contest in which teams from U.S. military academies compete against one from the National Security Agency. As part of the competition, the teams will detect intruders, eradicate malware, and adapt to increasingly sophisticated and dynamic opponents.

CDX enables students to understand what it is like to be under attack, says Rochester Institute of Technology professor Bill Stackpole.

The NSA team's job "is to break into each of the military academy's teams' network, steal information from them, shut down their services, degrade their capabilities -- that sort of thing," says Dwayne Williams, director of the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which is an intercollegiate version of CDX. Williams notes that both contests focus on similar skills, but in the CDX competition the attacker is more likely to be a terrorist or from an opposing nation-state.

Stackpole says that one drawback to cybersecurity competitions is they are not especially realistic because the time frame is very limited. "If this were an actual player--someone really interested in breaking into your infrastructure--the chance of them being 'loud' if they're trying to remain undetected is very low," he says.

From CSO Online
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