U.S. Cyber Challenge - Greetings, Starfighter!

The U.S. Cyber Challenge is a triathlon of cyberspace challenges designed to inspire students to gain the technical skills needed to meet the challenges of the future. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, the SANS Institute, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and several university and private-industry partners have combined forces to offer the challenge.

The Cyber Challenge has three parts.

The Digital Forensics Competition presents competitors with the opportunity to analyze file signatures, check out suspicious software, decrypt files without the password, and parse header files for interesting information.

The Netwars "capture the flag" competition is played on a virtual private network over the Internet, using a custom operating-system image created by a small group that runs the game. Teams get points for attacking other teams' virtual machines and controlling certain services and files--the "flags."


(US Cyber Challenge triathlon)

The CyberPatriot High School Cyber Defense Competition demonstrates to students the difficulty of protecting networks under attack.

Netwars is the latest online game: an adventure across the Internet. You can play the game as an analyst, a penetration tester, a defender, or any combination. You earn points by finding keys, moving to higher levels, capturing services such as a website, overcoming obstacles (attack techniques) and protecting resources (defensive techniques). You can see the other players' scores and your own points scored, live, or on an overall scoreboard.

The NetWars game is a collection of computer and network security challenges. It is designed to represent real-world security issues: their flaws and their resolutions. Each player can follow an independent path based on individual problem solving skills, technical skills, aptitude, and creativity. The game is played in a fun but safe environment using the technology that drives our lives every day.

Science fiction movie fans recall fondly the movie The Last Starfighter, a popular 1984 sci-fi thriller, in which a video game is used to both train and find the best Starfighters - for real. Whenever a player on Earth won the game, he was abducted by Robert Preston - or rather, Centauri - to fight the real bad guys out in the galaxy.


(Alex and the other recruits)

Greetings, Starfighter!

Take a look at these similar stories; Training Videogames Bought By Defense Intelligence Agency America's Army Arcade Game.

From MITs Technology Review; see also the US Cyber Challenge website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/27/2009)

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