Defending The Country Behind A Computer Screen

The Cobalt Crusaders. Taken from the NEISD homepage.

Overseas men and women are out on the battlefield, fighting to survive and protect the community. There are stories of heroes and losses, and family and friends who leave to begin their journey with the armed forces, but rarely is the spotlight turned to those who defend the country via computer.  With a generation online and plugged in all hours of the day, the community seems to be revolving around technology, becoming dependent on the devices that seem so minor. Every thing, including conflict and confrontation, has moved to the online world, and although that has become very apparent, only a handful of people ever question and ponder over the actions being taken to protect the information and devices that are now in the online world.

Early this school year six ROTC students decided they would train and work hard to gain the skills and knowledge it takes to perform these actions, and March 23, the team of students, otherwise known as Cobalt Crusaders, flew to Maryland to compete in a CyberPatriots competition.

When the team arrived they were treated to a hotel and a plane ride all payed for by the Air Force Association, who also runs the CyberPatriots.

“We left wednesday, back in spring break, ” Lois Agabon(11) said.

When they got to the competition, the Cobalt Crusaders had to protect the computers that were set in front of them. Each computer had a different server or year, and then the red team would try to get into the computer.

“Based on how well you protect the computer you get points,” Agabon said, “and the better you do the more rounds you advance.”

When the Cobalt Crusaders were protecting the computers, they noticed any movement of the mouse when they weren’t moving it or other “simple stuff,” like that took place when the red team had infiltrated their devices. When the red team does so the Crusaders would lose points, and at the last round the teams that had gotten enough points to get there compete against each other.
“They’ve been doing this for three or four years, some of them, our kids started in October,” coach Amy King said.
Overall the Cobalt Crusaders skills in cyber defense were solid, and they managed to place 7th in Network Security and 3rd in Digital Forensics. “These are very dedicated kids, and I am extremely proud of all of them, regardless of the hoopla being made over the other team from San Antonio that won the national championship,” King said.

The team members included Sam Burgess, Robert Isenhour, Adam Cruz, Lois Agabon, Peter Myers, and Andy Banda, and although the team only just begun learning about computer forensics this year, they achieved 7th place over all in the CyberPatriots competeion.
“From starting a team in October who knew nothing about anything related to cyber security, to the number seven team in the nation, plus some other countries, is pretty darn good,” King said.

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About Kayla Gunn

Hello, I'm Kayla Gunn. I am a senior at MacArthur and this is my fourth year writing for Brahma Tales. I am an editor on staff, here to bring you all the features and blogs you could ever want. Opinion and feature pieces on social, world, and school issues will also probably frequent the list of stories I post. If you have any insights, questions, or differing opinions feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of my story. Happy reading!

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