This week, Brahma Tales recognizes people and organizations from the community for their service to this country. They will be showcased in a 5-part series, “Hats Off To Helmets.”
While the CyberPatriot program is only in its first season, it has already achieved national success. The “Cobalt Crusaders” consist of Sam Burgess (Commander, 12), Lois Agabon (11), Peter Myers (11), Adam Cruz (12), and Robert Isenhouer (12), who scored in the top quartile of their first competition in the “All Service” division.
The CyberPatriot competition was founded in the midst of what experts call “the beginnings of a cyber war.” Amy King (Foreign Language teacher) and Lt. Col. Robert Blake (JROTC Senior Army Instructor) collaborated to begin the program.
“Cyber security knowledge is quickly becoming one of the most critical types of knowledge needed today in high school and college graduates,” retired Air Force officer and cyber security analyst, Dr. Corey King said. “Our entire society is computer-controlled and we need young men and women who understand how these systems work, and who can help us protect them from attack. That’s why the CyberPatriot program was created,” he said.
Although membership to this year’s team is limited to JROTC cadets, Dr. King and Lt. Col. Blake wish to create an “Open Division” team that any student can join.
“We’re just trying to educate ourselves,” said Lt. Col. Blake of the program. “Attacks on systems other than Microsoft are becoming more prevalent and every attack on every OS [Operating System] is different. We need to be protected against any type of virus and recognize something is messing with our computers. That means that we [the team] need to make sure that they’re gone,” he said.
Recent surges in cyberwarfare demonstrate the international importance of the program and its legitimacy as a career path. Hacking incidents originated outside of the U.S. include confirmed security breaches from Israel, China, North Korea, and Pakistan. Intelligence gathered in the wake of the costly and ecologically destructive Gulf oil spill of 2010 points fingers at foreign hackers (most hold that it originated in Israel), proving the destructive potential of cyberterrorism and the value of the students’ involvement.