National Cyber League Training and Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitions
Ulku Yaylacicegi Clark University of North Carolina Wilmington
Abstract Simulating the real world environment, Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitions (CCDCs) are designed to assess the knowledge and understanding of college students’ information assurance and computer security skills. During these competitions, student teams are given administrative and protective duties for an existing network. They need to manage their resources (hardware, people, time, skills, etc.) to maintain the availability of essential information technology (IT) services while they are simultaneously protecting their information assets against external threats. In order to be successful in CCDCs, students need to have proficiency in several areas including, but not limited to, network management, system administration, change management and incident response. Unfortunately, due to the lack of trained faculty and other additional resource constraints, nationally only a handful of schools are able to offer curriculums providing the skills necessary to compete in such an environment. The absence of an outlet prevents interested students, who could potentially be valuable future information security workforce members, have proper training and consequently participating in the educational experience the cyber defense competitions offer. This study aims to give an outline of how National Cyber League (NCL) could be utilized to prepare student teams to participate in collegiate cyber defense competitions. The practice would especially be valuable for the institutions offering none or a few information assurance/security courses to prepare students. National Cyber League (NCL) provides a virtual training environment for students that are interested in learning information security skills, and a venue to practice the skills taught through individual and team competitions. Participating students are given lab exercises (on open source intelligence, network traffic analysis, log analysis, scanning & reconnaissance, wireless access exploitation, cryptography, password cracking, web application exploitation, enumeration & exploitation) to develop and master basic competencies necessary for an information assurance professional. Following the lab exercises, the students are given the chance to participate in games individually and/or as teams to validate their understanding, as well as, their mastery levels of the topics covered in labs. NCL has been available since 2011. The students, who participated in NCL in the previous years, have consistently stated that even though participating in NCLs is not sufficient alone for success in collegiate cyber defense competitions, through NCL they have acquired the framework necessary to develop the competencies in protecting information assets and succeeding in the CCDCs. NCL has been improving the set of exercises and games they offer since the date it was found. This year for the first time, they offer an opportunity to integrate the NCL into the classroom.
Recommended Citation: Clark, U. Y., (2015). National Cyber League Training and Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitions. Proceedings of the EDSIG Conference, (2015) n.3609, Wilmington, NC