Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ February 2011

NFCCA to Sponsor Two High School Teams in Cyber Patriot Competition to Help Defeat Computer Crime

By Laura Hussey

If you follow the news closely, you may have noticed that there have been some pretty serious developments in terms of cybersecurity and our vulnerability to attacks on the computer systems that affect every aspect of our lives to attacks by cyber criminals.  The Internet has changed our lives in many wonderful ways, but it has also made it possible for those with malicious intentions to exploit all of that connectedness to wreak havoc.

The emerging field of cybersecurity needs bright minds to develop ways to prevent, detect, and defend against cyber attacks on critical computer systems.  Cybersecurity experts will have many career options in both the public and private sectors in the coming decades, and a program called Cyber Patriot is seeking to develop a pool of talented young experts.

Cyber Patriot was initiated by an organization of retired military officers as a competition for teams of high school students.  Teams compete in a safe network environment against other teams in a race to defeat a fictitious cyber attacker.  The teams use equipment and software donated by major computer hardware and software manufacturers.  Each team must have an adult coach, and competition is tiered so that teams compete first against other teams in their region.  As winning teams advance, they have an opportunity to advance to the national competition.

Individual teams pay a small fee to register.  At the June NFCCA membership meeting, members voted to fund two teams:  one each from Blair and/or Northwood High Schools, or from local scout troops or other groups of interested students.  What is needed next is an adult to coach and mentor each team, and to help form a team of students.  The adult sponsor need not be a cybersecurity expert, although some proficiency with computers would be helpful.

The CyberPatriot IV competition begins this spring to allow coach preparation over the summer.  (CyberPatriot III is about to conclude; the in-person national final round of competition will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland — just south of the Beltway on the Maryland side of the Potomac River — on 31 March to 2 April 2011.)  See for more details.

We have many talented adults in our neighborhood, as well as many talented high school students.  If you have an interest in this project, please contact Laura Hussey at [contact details redacted].   ■

   © 2011 NFCCA  [Source:]