NSA Attacks West Point!


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5-Year Member
May 20, 2007

An article I found which talks about how the NSA has been testing the security of various military academies, specifically West Point in this case. May be a bit technical for some people I thought it was a good read.

For four days in late April, the National Security Agency -- the nation's most secretive repository of spooks, snoops and electronic eavesdroppers -- directed coordinated assaults on custom-built networks at seven of the nation's military academies, including West Point, the Army university 50 miles north of New York City.

It was all part of the seventh annual Cyber Defense Exercise, a training event for future military IT specialists. The exercise offered a rare window into the NSA's toolkit for infiltrating, corrupting or destroying computer networks.
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A nice little article. Part of the story they don't tell here is that Kings Point takes part in this exercise and does fairly well considering that there are no computer science/engineering majors offered as well as a lack of any other computer technical courses. I'm sure this is an awesome experience for those who are comp sci majors.
I know USCGA, USMA, USNA, USMMA, and USAFA...but what are the other two military academies? Are we including war colleges in this?
I was wondering the same thing, I just figured it would be something like Citadel and VMI. I doubt the war colleges would take part seeing as they are for post graduate work.
I've sent the author an email through Wired's "Contact the author" page regarding this. I'll post his reply if I get one.
CGA Takes The Silver, Again

The Coast Guard Academy placed second, for the second year in a row, in the 2008 Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX). The CDX is a computer security competition designed to foster education and awareness among future military leaders about the role of information assurance (IA) in protecting the nation’s critical information systems. The exercise challenges teams of students drawn from each of the service academies with designing, building, and successfully defending a real-world computer network against simulated intrusions by a team of Department of Defense experts. The entire exercise is conducted on virtual private networks, providing a safe path for the exercise while preventing interference with real-world networks.
AFIT said:
AFIT teams top scorers in Cyber Defense Exercise
AFIT Crest

Monday, May 05, 2008
By: AFIT Public Affairs

The Air Force Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Computer Engineering 528 and 628 classes participated in the Spring 2008 Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX). The CDX, administered by the National Security Agency, is a competition that allows both undergraduate and graduate students at the military service academies, the Naval Postgraduate School, and AFIT to gain real-life experience in the protection of critical computing resources. Through a set of operational attack scenarios spanning four days, the students must manage the network under attack and respond appropriately to keep services available to the end-users. In this year's event, the military academies and the two graduate schools all competed against each other for the best score, though only the service academies compete for the coveted CDX trophy. Two teams devised of 26 AFIT military, civilian, and IDE students joined together to conduct defensive network operations that included standing up and securing the AFIT CDX network. The students spent three months setting up their networks and analyzing preconfigured images provided by NSA. Students had to detect and remove preinstalled malware before conducting the exercise to ensure the network was secure. They also used an encryption technology called IPSEC (IP Security) to determine exactly the interaction allowed for their machines. AFIT's use of IPSEC is not the traditional point-to-point tunnels but a host-based wrapping that allows detailed specificity of the computer's communication with other network entities. The students went above and beyond expectations as AFIT was the only school to remain uncompromised this year. AFIT's Team 2 took the top score and Team 1 was right behind in second place, while the United States Military Academy at West Point was the top academy and took home the CDX trophy for the second year in a row. This year's CDX was a tremendous challenge for all of the students and a wonderful hands-on learning environment for all.

This answers the questions from above too I think.
So AFIT won but USMA got the trophy because it's an Academy? Thanks for the info, hornetguy.