The Midwest Cyber Center organized a CyberPatriot recruitment event at UMSL on Sep 23, 2017.

The event was intended to excite middle/high school students towards STEM programs and to encourage children to participate in CyberPatriot X competition. CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. At the center of CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. In the rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services in a six-hour period. Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region, and the top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, MD for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.

The Midwest Cyber Center’s recruitment event was a smaller version of the upcoming CyberPatriot competition. We will bring in Military Cyber Professionals Association – St. Louis Chapter (MCPA) to help run the games. We will use members from Scott AFB as our volunteers to help the children participate in the games as well and answer any technical questions.

This event was a great example of strong community partnerships within the region aimed at fostering Cybersecurity talent!

  • UMSL – contributing facility/computer lab/ food and beverages as well as prizes
  • Military Cyber Professionals Association – St. Louis Chapter (MCPA) – contributing software and running games
  • Scott AFB – contributing volunteers to help children navigate the software and answer technical questions that arise
  • Midwest Cyber Center (MC²)– Event POC and promoting event

The event was designed as “Capture the Flag” (CTF) games by Jason Scott who was the competition lead. Volunteers from Scott Air Force base mentored the students during the competition. A CTF is an event during which students come together to compete against one another in an effort to test and expand cyber-security skills and awareness. Participants were challenged with cyber-security related puzzles from categories like network exploitation, cyber forensics, cryptography, steganography, programming, reverse engineering, and cyber trivia.