July is known for baseball, soccer, trips to the beach, and now the Digital Forensics and Cyber Analysis (DFCA) led Cyber Academy. For an entire week, rising high school juniors and seniors were exposed to what it would be like to be on the front lines of cyber defense. The event, hosted at ManTech’s training facility in Herndon, Virginia, started with three days of intensive education. Instructors Bob Osgood, Tahir Khan, Janice Rosado, Sam Blackburn, Simeon Youngblood, and Phil Waterbury led the students through Mason prepared digital analysis topics such as: network traffic, digital media, and unknown code. The students spent these three days entirely on the keyboard learning their craft. Students dissected a network traffic capture file looking for evidence of an intrusion, examined digital media discovering hidden bank account and user access information, and dismembered executable code with techniques such as static and dynamic analysis safely identifying code artifacts with the goal of determining the true purpose of the code.
The fourth day was spent at both MITRE Labs and the DHS National Cybersecurity and Integration Center (NCCIC) where students got to see actual cyber defense in action. The piece de resistance was a capture the flag event on the fifth day hosted by Kaspersky Lab where students plied their newly minted skills learned during the first three days on an actual cyber intrusion.
By exposing high schoolers to actual cyber skills, showing them real world of cyber defense, then having our students apply those skill in a real life setting, we are opening up the world of science technology engineering and mathematics that heretofore were foreign and unknown showing how exciting this type of work can be. All of the skills can be obtained here at Mason’s Volgenau School.
Our goal is to make this an annual event.
Partners in this event included: Infragard, FBI, Probity-Truxton, Hogan Lovells, and TCecure.