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Center for Cyber Security Studies

Cybersecurity Opportunities for Midshipmen

Language Proficiency, Regional Expertise, Cultural Awareness (LREC) 

USNA Faculty Members lead small groups of Midshipmen to strategic locations around the world in support of the faculty member's area of expertise. These experiences develop Midshipmen with regards to cultural awareness and global perspective.

Link to LREC homepage. Cyber Operations LRECs are labeled. 

Cyber Security Team (CST)

Link to CST homepage. USNA's ECA for cybersecurity training and competition. 

USNA News Center

Link to USNA News Center homepage. The News Center regularly covers USNA press releases including cyber related events. 

Cyber Security Competitions

President’s Cup Qualification CTF
○ Established in response to Executive Order 13870, the President's Cup
Cybersecurity Competition is a national cyber competition aiming to identify,
recognize, and reward the best cybersecurity talent in the federal executive
workforce. Hosting challenges from across the National Initiative for
Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Framework, competitors will face
a diverse array of challenges and will require an extensive skill set to succeed.

DownUnder CTF
○ DownUnderCTF is a world-wide Capture The Flag (CTF) competition targeted at
Australian secondary and tertiary students.
○ DownUnderCTF started as a collaboration between 13 University Cyber Security
societies around Australia. Now, we are a mix of University and young IT
professionals working together to build Australia’s largest CTF.

○ ShmooCon is an annual east coast hacker convention hell-bent on offering three
days of an interesting atmosphere for demonstrating technology exploitation,
inventive software and hardware solutions, and open discussions of critical
infosec issues.

National Security Agency Cybersecurity Exercise
○ NCX is a year-round education, training and exercise program that culminates in a
three-day cyber competition that challenges participating academy and military
service college students in near full-spectrum cyber operations. This culminating
cyberspace training exercise helps to develop and test cybersecurity skills,
teamwork, planning, communication, critical thinking, and decision-making.
NCX helps prepare the nation’s next generation of cyber leaders and warriors in
defending the nation from an ever-increasing number of cyber threats. The
winning school receives the coveted NCX trophy.

Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition
○ Traveled to SC to participate in PCDC, a 2 day event consisting of the following:
○ HackWarz, an offensive CTF in which competitors turn in tokens found on a
vulnerable infrastructure to get points (1st place finish)
○ PCDC Blue Team Competition, an 8 hour long event in which competitors are
given a network that has been tampered with by a red team, and are given the task
to secure the network before the red team returns to wreak havoc.

○ Hack For Troops is an annual Capture the Flag (CTF) competition and
fundraising event put on by the Virginia-based non-profit Tech for Troops and
PlayCyber, powered by Katzcy.
○ The purpose of the event is to help raise funds for Tech For Troops, whose
mission is dedicated to empowering veterans with computers, skills, and
Information Technology (IT) workforce training.
○ The competition is a technical event that uses real-life technical configuration
issues and scenarios to show computer vulnerabilities and how those
vulnerabilities can be abused in Information Technology ecosystems.

SANS Cyber Security Training- Netwars competition
○ Netwars is our premier Cyber Range, appropriate for all cybersecurity skill levels.
Netwars poses a series of multifaceted, interactive and situational cybersecurity
challenges. The challenges test a wide variety of disciplines and subject matter
across 5 levels that increase in difficulty. These challenges may be completed
individually or as a team. Netwars also features an automated hint system to help
participants solve questions they may find particularly difficult. The available
hints help participants develop new skills and ensure that every participant
steadily progresses through the challenge.

HackTheBox CTF
○ Hack The Box is a massive hacking playground, and infosec community of over
1.2m platform members who learn, hack, play, exchange ideas and
○ About the CTF:
■ Crypto laundering, wire fraud, phishing campaigns, malware, ransomware
strains... These are just a few of the areas the oldest running group of
malicious actors specializes in. College funds, retirement savings,
allowances, investments — the whole financial ecosystem is on the edge
of destruction, and the world needs your help.
■ Join ENIGMA, the multinational law enforcement operation, and let's
bring those criminals to the light of justice.

○ AvengerCon is a free security event hosted every fall by Maryland Innovation and
Security Institute to benefit the hackers of the U.S. Cyber Command community
and the U.S. Army 780th Military Intelligence Brigade. The event is open to all
service members and employees of U.S. Cyber Command and Department of
Defense personnel supporting cyberspace missions. AvengerCon features
presentations, hacker villages, training workshops, and much more.


Cyber Red Zone
○ Cyber Red Zone (CRZ) is the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) multi day
cybersecurity competition. These team oriented cybersecurity competitions are
open to government personnel across multiple technical career fields to learn or
sharpen their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) in protection of defense
networks, critical data infrastructures, and defense weapons systems (and
subsystems) within a realistic, game-based environment. Design and development
of CRZ events utilize a specific formula that targets actual defense cybersecurity
knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) at three levels: apprentice, journeyman,
and master. Typically, there are three flags per KSA targeted. Moreover, CRZ
cybersecurity competitions take place over a 48-hour period. This two-day period
allows for chained attacks, as well as participation from red teams and cyber
protection teams. To maintain participant attention and sustain morale, ten Easter
eggs hidden in the networked environment serve as a means of frustration
reduction in the capture of high complexity flags without negatively affecting a
team’s overall score. In addition to the strategic placement of Easter eggs, teams
can request point-reducing hints in order to facilitate learning of new TTPs. The
intentionally chosen flags and strategic placement of Easter eggs ensures adequate
coverage of key KSAs are being addressed, and that less experienced cyber teams
can gain experience while still challenging the more experienced certified and
accredited DoD Red Teams. Encompassed within a back-story and scenario-based
missions representative of the current threat landscape, CRZ has garnered DoD
senior leadership support and increased participation from DoD cybersecurity,
Information Technology (IT), and engineering professionals.

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