The College of San Mateo Teams Won the Competition
There was a lot of excitement in Building 14 on Friday, August 4th. That’s because two College of San Mateo cybersecurity teams won the competition among 25 teams in the Bay Area. The third CSM team got to the “finish line” soon thereafter, making College of San Mateo the first college in the Bay Area where all teams staved off the simulated cyber-threats in the allotted time – our groups had more than an hour to spare, too. Even the instructors were impressed.
This was a very satisfying culmination to the week-long cybersecurity camp hosted at CSM. It was our first time participating with “CyberPatriot: The National Youth Cyber Education Program.” CyberPatriot is a non-profit organization that works in cooperation with the Air Force Association and the Northrup Grumman Association. They employ industry cybersecurity experts who teach summer camps across the nation.
More than 600 high school and middle school students in the Bay Area joined the camps this year. We welcomed an impressive group of students to CSM, including 7th through 12th grade kids from 10 schools in San Mateo County. Our instructors, Blanca Delgado and Eric Skagerberg, did a great job of preparing the CSM teams for the competition – obviously! You may have never heard of “Binary Thinking,” “Windows XD,” or the “Hacker Smackers,” but you might someday – when these team members could become cybersecurity specialists. Here are the College of San Mateo cybersecurity teams. There are a lot more pictures below.
Some Background Information
Cybersecurity is the news every day and is a major international issue. It is one of the leading concerns in the IT industry. Computer professionals know that there are too many threats and not enough cybersecurity professionals. There is a high demand for Information Communication Technology (ICT) professionals. 93% of employers report a gap between current and desired skills of ICT staff (source: CompTIA’s Skills Gap study).
This summer, a group of students from 10 high schools and middle schools around San Mateo County met for an intensive week of studying cybersecurity and learning the most up-to-date tools for protecting computer networks and devices. The instructors ended up the week by encouraging the students to take more computer classes, start computer and cybersecurity clubs in their schools, compete at the national level, and imagine the possibility of becoming future cybersecurity experts.
CyberPatriot sponsors cybersecurity education programs throughout the year. The students who completed the CSM camp can go on to compete in nationwide contents among other teams that completed the same camp this summer. Last year, there were more than 4,000 such teams in the country. This year, there will be a series of “warm up” practice sessions in the fall. Next spring, the top teams in the nation will earn an all-expenses paid trip to Baltimore for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.
The CSM teams didn’t win any creativity contents for their team names. In the end, it wasn’t creativity that mattered, it was their new-found skills in securing two computers (one running Windows, the other running Linux) against more than 3 hours of simulated cyber-attacks. It was intense, and the CSM teams focused like mad.
Here’s how the week went.
- On Monday, the instructors taught the principals of cybersecurity, including the cybersecurity triad – confidentiality, integrity and availability – a model designed to guide policies for information security within an organization.
- The Tuesday and Wednesday sessions covered ways to protect Windows computers from cyber-threats.
- Thursday was “Linux Day,” or as Eric referred to it, “and entire semester of Linux in one day.” (He knows – he’s a Linux instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College).
It all led up to the competition on Friday. The CSM teams went head-to-head with 22 other teams from all around the Bay Area. When the starting gun went off at precisely 9:45, all of the teams started to defend their two computers against one simulated attack after another. As they defeated the “bad guys,” they accumulated points. Eric and Blanca were in the room, but the teams had to rely on their own training, as well as their ingenuity and good research skills to look up things in Google (on a third computer) in real time. All the while, the kids watched their
scores on the screen in the front of the room. It quickly became obvious that the CSM teams were out in front. Even though the kids were focused on solving the detailed challenges that kept arriving on their computers, they watched the real-time leader boards.
Windows Leader Board
Linux Leader Board
Overall scores leader board. The highlighted cells show the CSM teams winning the competition.
The CyberPatriot organizers – Richard Grotegut (the regional coordinator) and Irvin Lemus (the Bay Area leader and person who trained the instructors) – are already working on an advanced class for students who can return to CSM next summer. We’re looking forward to that.
College of San Mateo Cybersecurity Teams and their instructors check out the victory chart. Those are the CSM scores in the upper right. Our teams won!
See more pictures below.
The 2017 College of San Mateo Cybersecurity Camp Teams
The Cybercamp Participants
Some Other Pictures from the 2017 Cybercamp
The Cybercamp Instructors
Blanca E. Delgado
Blanca E. Delgado is a Tech Coordinator at a non-profit organization in Los Angeles. She has developed, managed, and expanded the technology and infrastructure for the organization and 16 other non-profits across the state. She is currently developing a Security Plan and Disaster Recovery plan for the organization.
Blanca worked in the public and private sector as a network engineer and network administrator. She has also worked as an A+ certification instructor at a continuation high school in South Los Angeles. She attended Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and California State University in Los Angeles. She has earned certifications as a (CCNA) Cisco Certified Network Associate and (MCP). Microsoft Certified Professional. She is currently studying to become CISSP certified.
Blanca is a mentor in the CyberPatriot program at Cypress College, teaching and mentoring students to prepare for the competition and to learn about Cybersecurity as a career.
She is a member of SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), IEEE Los Angeles, Tech Ladies, Girls in Tech, ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) and Women in Cybersecurity.
Eric earned a degree in Management and Data Processing from Sonoma State University, and has more than 25 years’ experience in computer services. He is skilled in both PC and Mac environments.
As an adjunct instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College for more than 20 years, Eric has taught students in such varied and changing technical areas as Windows, UNIX, command line, computer security, and other technical courses for students seeking certification. He co-authored the textbook New Perspectives on Microsoft Windows Command Line.
Eric also serves business clients who do not require in-house IT capability but want an experienced professional who is competent, creative, accessible and trustworthy. Clients can specify the level of interaction they prefer, including Training Mode, Observation Mode, or Fast Fix Mode.
Eric is excellent at communicating complex procedures clearly and simply. For his clients who do not want to take classes, Eric can provide individual training and specific instruction in client-directed areas.