Cybersecurity is in the hands of Patriots

Macee Vadney, Assistant News Editor

Imagine taking on the position of a newly hired IT professional. Your goal is to manage the network of a small company. You have a six hour time limit. Ready, set, go!

Liberty High School has entered the premier National High School Cyber Defense Competition, known as CyberPatriots.

CyberPatriots is designed to give hands on exposure to the foundations of cybersecurity.

“The competition has been in existence for 10 years. So there are teams with 10 years of experience. We don’t have any. It’s a learning and building year for Liberty and we’ve already learned a lot,” Captain John Deehr said.

Practices are held every Thursday for an hour to an hour and a half. Outside of practice, the students are encouraged to do research and practice.

“Once the competition season is over in mid-January, we will start training for next season,” Deehr said.

The overall goal of the program is to excite the students about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

Teams of middle school and high school students participate in the competition. The students take the positions of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company.

“Teams can be made up of two to six students,” Deehr said. “We currently have two five person teams.”

During the competition, teams are given virtual images representing operating systems. Their task is to find cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services.

“Most of the Cadets joined the team because they are interested in computers and computer security,” Deehr said. “They want to learn about the different operating systems and what it takes to make those systems secure.”

The teams attempt to place within the top of their state and region. The top teams will earn a trip to Baltimore where they will compete in the National Finals Competition.

“I believe we have a great opportunity to do that because with teams this young there is fantastic potential to compete for State and National Championships in future years,” Deehr said.

If anyone is interested in joining the CyberPatriot Team and NJROTC they can come speak with Deehr or Chief Spears in the NJROTC portable at any time.