DARPA Competition Showcases Cyber Warriors

Students from three of the service academies competed recently in Pittsburgh after receiving training from two top experts.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, held an event in Pittsburgh recently called the Service Academy Cyber Stakes. Pitting more than 50 cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy who had trained for it since November, the Jan. 30-Feb. 2 event came about because DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar had expressed interest a year earlier in working more closely with the service academies, Cheryl Pellerin of American Forces Press Service reported Feb. 14.

Her report quotes DARPA officials who said the Department of Defense must train 4,000 cybersecurity experts by 2017, so it is crucial to build a pipeline for training future officers who will oversee protection of the cyber domain.

Experts training the teams were David Brumley, technical director of CyLab, a Carnegie Mellon University cybersecurity organization, and Dan Guido, identified by Pellerin as "CEO at Trail of Bits engineering and hacker in residence at New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering."

The teams competed in five events, including one where the competitors were given a collection of Linux binaries and challenged to find vulnerabilities.

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