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Naval Academy Club Helps Mids Practice Cyber Security Strategies

Posted on: October 08, 2013 08:00 EDT by Midshipman 2nd Class Shannon Cuthbert

Cyber security has gained increasing attention in recent years. Experience and observation have demonstrated the necessity for U.S government agencies to increase their knowledge and capabilities within this arena. One option for midshipmen who want to learn more about cyber is to get involved with the Information Warfare Group.

Over the past two years, mandatory cyber security classes have been added to the Naval Academy’s plebe and second class midshipman curriculum, but the Information Warfare Group is open to all midshipmen who want to learn more about cyber security and related topics.

The group meets twice a week and offers classes on weekends where midshipmen are given the resources to carry out defensive and offensive cyber operations.

Participation in the group is “a valuable experience, because it allows students to practice hacking techniques in a virtual network,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Aaron Fleming.

The midshipmen can experiment and learn new tactics without fear of causing harm to a functioning system. This allows students to become more confident and experienced in a safe manner, said Fleming.

The Information Warfare Group gives members the opportunity to participate in the annual Cyber Defense Exercise, which is a competition in which the service academies try to defend networks that they make. The exercise is a great opportunity for students to practice the defensive and offensive cyber tactics that they have learned. 

“I have become a better team player through the competitions that we work on,” Midshipman 2nd Class Zane Markel. “Through the IWG, I have learned a lot of technical skills about hacking that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I have lost track of the number of methods I've used to hack into computers.”

Several of the midshipmen involved in the group want to become Information Warfare Officers. Through their participation in the club they are training themselves in the tactics that will prove essential to their future careers in the Navy. The group is working towards making midshipmen better informed and more capable, thus better preparing them for their time in the fleet.
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