Defending Against the Hackers

Middle School CyberPatriot

This photo features a group of CyberPatirots competing in the National Finals Competition. Being a CyberPatiot requires hard work, determination, and focus on the codes.

Photo courtesy AFA CyberPatriot Department

This photo features a group of CyberPatirots competing in the National Finals Competition. Being a CyberPatiot requires hard work, determination, and focus on the codes.

Sabrina Richards, Editor

Technology: With its effectiveness, comes consequences. Those consequences include numerous things, such as fraud and hackers. Thankfully, for the first time in Faith Lutheran Middle School history, students are defending against the hackers via the program, CyberPatriot.

CyberPatriot is a new club for middle schoolers. The CyberPatriot club at Faith is a branch of the national association of CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program. The purpose of CyberPatriot is to defend major, simulated, network from being hacked, and prevent cyber vulnerabilities.

“It’s essentially…taking computers that have been comprised and turning them into computers that are secure, because there are a lot of insecure things in there, back doors, and stuff,” said seventh grader, Colin Saumere.

The way CyberPatriot runs seems quite different than other clubs at this school. The Faith teams meet after school on most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The teams use “images” of operating systems, such as Windows or Ubuntu in practice.

The “images” have threats and mistakes on them and it is the job of CyberPatriots to detect them.

“It is all fake, but it is preparing us for anything that might be real,” said eighth grader, Luke Rendel.

Faith maintains three teams, the highest team, the middle team, and the lowest team. There are about twenty middle schoolers in all, advised by Mr. Jose Diaz.

Training happens during the weekly practices in Mr. Diaz’s or Mr. Schmacher’s room. The goal of practice is to prepare for competition.

“We [CyberPatriot] show up either after school or on weekends, and we will compete for up to six hours, working on the simulated computer images,” Saumere said.

The images have threats and errors that the defenders decode. Once the teams have identified all the threats they could find, it is sent to the National Association.

“It is judged by the points you score and the time. So, say you get 97 points in an hour and four minutes, and then another team gets 97 points, but in a longer time, the first one who scores that amount of points, but in the fastest amount of time, gets placed higher,” said eighth grader, Scott Reuben.

The national competition of Cyber Patriot was created in 2009 by the Air Force Association. The first competition only included eight teams in Florida. Currently, the program has over 3,300 teams registered.

Only the top ranked teams from around the country advance to the National Finals Competition.

“There is a finals, and you have to be in the top two, three to go onto that,” said Reuben.

Faith’s team have participated in one in-house competition thus far.

In this day in age, CyberPatriot seems to be a necessity to prepare youth for defending hackers and threats in operating systems.