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Air Force Academy cyber cadets win top honors from NSA

By: Air Force Academy Public Affairs
May 4, 2013 Updated: May 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm
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photo - Cadet 3rd Class Zachary Madison (right) and Cadet 1st Class Ramon Villanueva take part in the National Security Agency?s Cyber Defense Exercise April 16. The exercise, which took place April 16-18, tested competitors' ability to defend a fully functioning computer network from attack. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sarah Chambers)
Cadet 3rd Class Zachary Madison (right) and Cadet 1st Class Ramon Villanueva take part in the National Security Agency?s Cyber Defense Exercise April 16. The exercise, which took place April 16-18, tested competitors' ability to defend a fully functioning computer network from attack. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sarah Chambers) 

The Air Force Academy Cyber Team won the National Security Agency's Cyber Defense Exercise, April 16-18, outscoring teams from other military academies in the U.S. and Canada for the second year in a row.

The 13th annual interservice Cyber Defense Exercise is a large-scale computer network defense competition designed to test a cyber team's ability to create and maintain a fully functioning computer network under attack.

During the competition, cadets in computer science classes and members of the Academy Cyber Competition Team built a network with email, the Web and file transfer capabilities and defended their network from hackers. They also solved a forensics challenge and secured a vulnerable Web server.

'Our second consecutive victory in the Cyber Defense Exercise is a result of the incredible dedication and hard work of our cadets, ' said Dr. Martin Carlisle, the team's coach. '(Cadets) understand the critical role cyber plays in our nation's defense and are proactively learning as much as they can so they will be outstanding leaders in this domain. '

The competition took place on virtual, private networks to provide a safe place for the exercise while preventing interference with real-world networks.

The team will receive the NSA Director's Trophy for Information Assurance at a later date.

The academy's cyber team also received the trophy in 2003, 2006 and 2012.

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