CyberPatriot IV Prepares for Second Round of National High School Cyber Defense Competition

Nov 29, 2011 (03:11 PM EST)

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Air Force Association's CyberPatriot is preparing for another round of competition this weekend, with the All Service Division entering its second of three online rounds.

CyberPatriot is the nation's largest high school cyber security challenge. This unique competition was designed to give students a hands-on learning experience in cybersecurity and inspire students to consider science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in their studies.

In this two-track competition, teams have registered from public, private, parochial and home schools in the Open Division and JROTC units of all Services and Civil Air Patrol squadrons filled the All Service Division. In all, more than 1,000 teams registered to participate this year.

The All Service Division teams will undergo another round of computer defense, with each team having to compete for six hours during the allotted 36-hour window of competition (starting noon EST on December 2 and closing at midnight EST on December 3). However, the teams will have to fortify and secure two systems this round, versus the one in the first preliminary round. The composite score of the first and second preliminary rounds will determine which teams advance to Round 3 (the Round of 36 teams).

Following that, the top 12 qualifying teams then receive all-expenses-paid trips to the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition held in the Washington, D.C. area, in March 2012.

In the meantime, the CyberPatriot staff has been working even harder to expand the educational reach of the competition, which includes the addition of a forensics element in the national finals competition and the completion of a pre-competition survey.

During the National Finals Competition of CyberPatriot IV, 24 teams of finalists will compete in a new forensics exercise, teaching about and testing high school competitors on the exciting field of cyber forensics through the application of crime scene analysis, evidence gathering and critical thinking. The expansion to the competition has been made possible by the Defense Cyber Crime Center.

And after distribution to 1,000-plus student competitors, CyberPatriot IV's pre-competition survey was completed earlier this month, gathering information on participants' general knowledge of all things cyber. The survey asked questions addressing students' overall understanding of cyber security and their likeliness to pursue a career in STEM. Results will be compared with a similar survey after the completion of this year's competition.

"This competition is about academic growth and teaching beyond the fundamental curriculum found in schools," said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot Commissioner. "This survey is an analytical effort to measure the effect CyberPatriot is having on the students who participate in the competition. And the addition of cyber forensics adds an exciting element of education to the competition and allows these high school students to get exposure to another fascinating aspect of cyber security."

The AFA is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has over 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing 120,000 members. Visit

SOURCE Air Force Association