Cybersecurity experts help RRHS teams prepare for competition
Three local cybersecurity experts have partnered with instructors at Round Rock High school to mentor the school’s cyber defense teams as they prepare for the premier national high school competition in their field.
CyberPatriot, as the event is known, was created by the Air Force Association in 2009 to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Students compete in teams to locate vulnerabilities and security holes in target operating systems loaded onto their host machines, finding and repairing the problems during a six-hour competition round.
Mentoring the teams as they practice for CyberPatriot V will be Steven Heist of USAA, Chris Walden of IBM and Chip Webb of Dell, cybersecurity professionals who help the students by designing practice exercises for them to complete and providing guidance in the event that students or teams run into trouble during practice.
Round Rock High School will enter two teams in the competition, one in the All Services Division that will be made up of Marine Corps Junior ROTC cadets and one in the Open Division comprised of non-JROTC students. The All Services team is comprised of Robert Diaz, Bryan Dronen, Maria Dronen, Jarred Kindles, Gavin Kongrath and Kayla Rivera, and is coached by JROTC instructor Major Tedd Shimp. The Open Division team includes Junior Erly, James Salinas, John Starich, James Williams, Evan Durfee, and Brent Hubler. They are coached by David McCarroll, RRHS’ STEM Academy Lead.
Last year, Heist assisted the JROTC CyberTeam as they advanced to the national semifinals in the All Services Division, which is open only to JROTC, Civil Air Patrol and Sea Cadet students.
Teams meet for practice once a week after school, working with their mentors to apply real-world computer network security practices and procedures. The first round of competition for teams in both divisions begins in November. Students will compete in two preliminary rounds to try to qualify for the semifinals. The top scoring teams in the semifinals will advance to the national finals in National Harbor, Maryland in March of 2013.