The NerdHerd, pictured left to right: Sasha Chowdhury, Maddie Feigles, Divya Somayajula, and Keenah Cuaycong. Not pictured: Erica Edwards and Isabelle Termaat
Congratulations are in order for the NerdHerd, an all-girls CyberPatriot team from Stone Bridge High School. They placed second in the Mid-Atlantic Region in the Silver Tier of the Air Force Association’s CyberPartiot national cybersecurity education program! The Silver Tier had 183 teams in the State Round with 74 advancing to the Regional Round. The NerdHerd scored 217.7 points out of a possible 333 points, placing them third overall and in second place of the 21 teams from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
The goal of CyberPatriot is to increase awareness and interest in cybersecurity among high school students. The NerdHerd exemplified this goal during its journey to placing in the CyberPatriot competition. The team started slowly at the beginning of the year, as they learned unfamiliar techniques and software tools to discover and fix vulnerabilities in various operating systems. They improved in each round throughout the competition, culminating in their outstanding placement in the Regional Round.
During a six-hour competition window on January 18th, the NerdHerd eliminated dozens of vulnerabilities. The team eradicated malware, ensured only authorized users could access the systems, removed unauthorized applications and files, deleted or disabled non-secure/unnecessary services, and made sure the operating systems and applications were up to date. On the networking side, the NerdHerd demonstrated mastery of TCP addressing, IP routing, and how networks operate and are configured. The Regional Round competition consisted of securing Windows 8.1, Windows 2008 Server, and Ubuntu 12.04 virtual images, and completing a Cisco Networking Challenge Quiz. I was impressed as the team accomplished tasks in this round that they knew nothing about just four short months ago.
Telos has been proud to sponsor the NerdHerd and all of the SBHS CyberPatriot teams as they learned about cybersecurity and securing systems. Although the national competition is over for SBHS teams this year, we hope to see the non-graduating team members back next year to continue to build on their cybersecurity knowledge and compete once again.
Good luck to all the teams competing in the National Finals at National Harbor in Maryland, March 11-15, 2015. Spectators can observe the competition by registering here. Also, it’s never too late to volunteer to be a Mentor or a Team Assistant for CyberPatriot teams. Teams can use all the support they can get! Cybersecurity professionals, parents, or other adults who want to become involved can visit the CyberPatriot website to volunteer.
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