With the growth of powerful new threats to the security of the online experience, more and more Americans are discovering that their digital experience must be conducted with a new found awareness of safety and caution. We are pleased to help lead a charge to help expand awareness of the importance of being smart online. On October 10 at CyberFest, the SOeC will be presenting the CyberFest2013 awards to some of the best and brightest in San Diego, visionaries who are helping ensure the web is a safer place to work and play.
Just released are four of the top winners for 2013 – Lifetime Achievement to Andrew Lee, CEO of ESET North America; Community Leadership to Jessie J. Knight, Jr., SDG&E chairman and CEO; Exemplary Service to the Honorable Mitchell D. Dembin; and Volunteer of the Year to Roger Fraumann of PBResilience. Award finalists for Thursday’s ceremony include San Diego’s law enforcement, educational, corporate, military, infosec and emergency responder communities.
You can still register to join the award ceremony and the day long event, CyberFest2013, focused on “The Truth About Cyber security” at:http://www.securingourecity.org/cyberfest2013
It is widely acknowledged that our country needs more computer security experts, and that requires more young people taking a greater interest in computer security. Enter the San Diego Mayor’s Cyber Cup, a competition in which teams from dozens of high schools all over San Diego County compete in tests of cyber-defense, protecting computer systems from attackers.
After several rounds of competition, the winning team emerges, and this year it was Westview High School, pictured here with their coach, Ms. Tammie Neuhaus, and the check they earned for their school, thanks to generous sponsors like SAIC, Bridgepoint Education, NDIA, ESET, SOeC, and many others.
In addition to that check, the winning team got to attend Cyber Boot Camp at the offices of Securing Our eCity in Little Italy, spending five days in a custom computer lab where they expanded their knowledge of cyber attacks and defenses under the guidance of ESET security researcher Cameron Camp, a Certified Information System Security Professional, seen on the left below.
Below is another shot of students exploring the network in the lab, where they were able to hone their cyber-defense skills by becoming familiar with attack strategies and tools used by cyber criminals and white hat hackers alike.
In addition to lab time, the boot camp provides context and guidance to students through a series of lectures in ESET’s San Diego conference room, many by leading experts in the area, such as U.S. Magistrate Judge, the Hon. Mitchell Dembin, who has been successfully prosecuting computer crime cases since 1991.
Students were also introduced to the many educational and career opportunities available in the field of information security. Dr. Gordon Romney, Professor of Security at National University, impressed students with war stories from the early days of computing as well as his recent installation of Kali on Raspberry Pi (if you know what that means, you’ll know it’s very cool). The huge demand for skilled security professionals in both the government and private sectors was made clear by several presenters.
This is the third time that ESET has hosted Cyber Boot Camp for the Mayor’s Cup winners and this year’s event attracted considerable media attention, reflecting increased public awareness of cybercrime and the growing need for computer security education. Reporters from NBC, U-T San Diego, and NPR spent time with the students, instructors, and guest speakers (although some of the material presented by the three computer security specialists from the FBI were off limits to the press). Here’s a link to the NBC coverage and video.
By the end of the week, students professed themselves well-pleased with the event, which included a points-based competition among students administered by lead instructor Cameron Camp. According to Camp, who tailors the content and pace of the sessions to each year’s participants, all of the Westview students made significant advances in their security knowledge over the five days of intense learning.
The Mayor’s Cyber Cup will start up again in the Fall semester and, according to Liz Fraumann, Executive Director of the Securing Our eCity Foundation, attendance at Cyber Boot Camp will again be among the prizes awarded to the winning team.
The winners of the 2013 San Diego Mayor’s Cyber Cup received part of their prize this week, participation in Cyber Boot Camp, orchestrated by SOeC at the North America headquarters of global cyber security company ESET, sponsored by ESET and Bridgepoint Education. Cyber boot camp is five days of intense cyber security education that combines hands-on experience in a computer lab with presentations from subject matter experts, including a U.S. magistrate judge and members of the FBI’s cyber squad.
At the heart of boot camp is a computer lab affectionately known as “The War Room”. The lab enables students to practice both computer defense and system penetration in a safe environment and was created by ESET Security Researcher, Cameron Camp, CISSP. But defending computer systems is not just about digital strategies. Here we see students from Westview High School engaged in a mock investigation of a security breach.
By the end of the week the students professed themselves greatly enriched by the whole experience, enjoying both the practical exercises and the guest speakers.
While some of the students have now graduated and are on their way to college in the Fall, some of the younger students will participate in the Mayor’s Cup competition next year and are likely to be formidable opponents.
This year was notable for the high level of media interest in the event, which was covered this week by NBC7 and U-T San Diego. We expect further coverage next week from Marketplace on NPR and others.
This week, Securing Our eCity stakeholder National University became the first school in San Diego, and only the eighth in California, to achieve the coveted National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designation of “National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education“.
The San Diego university’s cyber security program is somewhat unique in that it teaches both theory and the hands-on skills needed to identify and defend against threats. The program uses an innovative Virtual Education Lab (VEL) where professors create scenarios on multiple machine platforms for students to assess and defend in role-playing exercises.
“This national recognition provides tremendous validation for what we are doing at National University,” said Dr. John Cicero, dean of National University’s School of Engineering, Technology and Media in the announcement.
“Nearly every aspect of our lives is susceptible to Cyber Attack and our students are the future Cyber Warriors who will be defending the integrity and security of our national, business and infrastructure data online.”
According to Program Lead, Dr. Ron Gonzales, “MSCSIA students completing this unique and specialized area of professional training are well prepared with both counter defense, and penetration measures associated with computing security”.
We applaud National for its great work and commend all of those who worked so hard to achieve this elite designation.
And what an evening it was, as the Securing Our eCity Foundation hosted another excellent opportunity for businesses in the San Diego area to hear from, and meet with, a recognized thought leader in cyber security. Last night it was Scott Charney, VP of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft.
Few people in America have their finger on the pulse of cyber security like Mr. Charney does (he had been at a White House briefing the day before coming to San Diego). An impressive speaker who was very generous with his time, Mr. Charney took on a wide range of questions after spending an hour or so sharing his observations on many aspects of cyber security, such as data security and cloud computing.
Clearly, both Mr. Charney and Microsoft see further migration to the cloud as inevitable, prompting questions about cloud security, and a great answer. Mr. Charney said that, when faced with the question “is the cloud secure?” his answer is a different question: “compared to what?” In other words, the cloud looks relatively secure if you are currently doing IT in house, where you’re probably having a hard time keeping up with system and application patching, and can’t really afford 7×24 monitoring, redundancy, backups, diesel generators and armed guards.
The evening was not without its lighter moments. Mr. Charney was introduced by SOeC board member Hon. Mitchtell Dembin, U.S. Magistrate Judge (seated on the left in the photo below). In his remarks, Judge Dembin said “I’ve known Scott and his wife for a long time, in fact I married them.” (As in presided over their wedding.)
The judge was in turn introduced by Andrew Lee, CEO of one of the evening’s main sponsors, San Diego-based ESET North America, seen on the right in the photo. Other generous sponsors of this SOeC fundraising event were Qualcomm and SDG&E.
As with February’s excellent evening with Howard Schmidt, former Cyber-Security Coordinator of the Obama Administration, the venue was the charming University Club, with it’s wonderful views of the city and bay. Keep an eye on the SOeC News & Events page for further evenings like this (sponsorships are available).
(Photos courtesy of JP Graf Photography)
In addition to playing Cyber Feud, visitors to the SOeC booth at last week’s San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering also had the opportunity to learn more about SOeC’s mission and activities.
Those visitors who signed up to learn more were eligible for a drawing for a prize bundle and we are delighted to announce the winner: Gary D. of San Diego, seen here with Liz Fraumann, Executive Director of Securing Our eCity Foundation (on Gary’s left) and Pamela Richardson, Securing Our eCity Administrator (on Gary’s right).
That sharp-looking SOeC backpack in the middle is also a rollerbag and is stuffed with cyber security goodies.
On a sunny Saturday in San Diego the crowds turned out in their thousands at PETCO Park to explore science exhibits at the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering. Securing Our eCity was there, as a sponsor and as an exhibitor, raising cyber security awareness with the very popular Cyber Feud game. Here you can see a session in progress, led by ESET’s Brent Curry, closely watched by a crowd of onlookers.
Some 280 people participated in the game, competing for prizes by answering cyber security questions. Many more observed from the sidelines.
The event was a great opportunity to spread the word about Securing Our eCity and numerous requests for follow-up contact were received. As you can see, there was no shortage of attendees, which bodes well for the future of science and engineering and STEM education in San Diego.
Securing Our eCity also participated in other events during the week-long San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering. On Tuesday, SOeC volunteer Stephen Cobb gave a talk about privacy and social media as part of Science speed Round on the campus of UC San Diego.
Coming up in just a moment! Here’s a hint, from the intense final session of the compettion:
For those not yet familiar with the San Diego Mayor’s Cyber Cup, this annual competition, established in 2010, seeks find and encourage the best cyber security talent in California’s high schools. The competition starts with a practice round, which this year took place in late January. There were 33 teams participating!
The practice round was quickly followed by qualification rounds in February, all conducted over the Internet. Then the qualifying teams came together on March 2 in San Diego for live, head-to-head competition. And the winning team was: Westview High School, part of the Poway Unified School District in San Diego California:
WELL DONE WESTVIEW!
And well done to the runners up! In second place was the team from Pacific Technology School. In third place was last year’s winner, Troy High School, JROTC team.
The winning team not only won the title and a year of hosting the very impressive cup that goes with that title, there was also a check for $2,500 for their school. But wait, there’s more….The winning team will also be treated to a week of Cyber Boot Camp! Hosted in San Diego by the Internet security company ESET, the Cyber Boot Camp is a lively mix of practical, instructor-led cyber security exercises, plus classroom presentations by experts in a wide range of related fields, from law enforcement to computer forensics, malware research, and career advice. The event will take place during summer recess. Here’s a peek at last year’s camp:
Beyond the prizes, there is a sense in which we all win from this competition. Right now, our country faces a critical shortage of cyber security expertise. One of the main goals of the project is to address that problem. Through the event and the publicity surrounding it we hope to encourage students of all ages, from all schools, to learn more about information assurance and computer security. Hopefully this will lead many more students to consider these fields as possible career paths or courses of study in higher education.
Thanks to All!
This year’s competition would not have been possible without the volunteer work and financial support of many organizations. We will mention some here, but this list is by no means exhaustive. SAIC’s CyberNEXS™ is the competition engine used in National High School and National Collegiate competitions. The Mayor’s Cup is sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), in cooperation with the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego (SPAWAR), and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Additional sponsors and supporters include Securing Our eCity Foundation, Bridgepoint Education, National University, Computers 2 San Diego Kids, and The Ranger Group.
San Diego-area business and civic leaders are invited to join with security professionals from the private and public sectors to learn how to protect their business interests from a variety of cyber threats at the opening event hosted by San Diego-based C-STARR, the Cyber Security
Threat Awareness, Response, & Recovery program. The event takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, from 8:15AM to 12:15PM at the War Memorial Building in Balboa Park.
“We want to share ways that can help you learn to protect your business, and to learn from you – the small business owner and manager — to find out what keeps you up at night,” said Alan Watkins, recently retired IT Operations & Security Manager for the City of San Diego, and Co-Chair of the Crtitical Infrstructure Planning (CIP) Working Group for Securing Our eCity. “We will also share how cyber security fits into protecting your business.”
Watkins will be joined at the free event by a number of expert and distinguished speakers, including United States Magistrate Mitch Dembin, Security Operations Manager Ron Simmons of San Diego Gas & Electric Co., and Sergeant Jason Vickery of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Computer & High-Tech Crimes Task Force.
C-STARR is the result of a combined effort by the City of San Diego and Securing Our eCity Foundation, and funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. There is no cost to attend this progam, and parking wil also be free.
For full details, download this document, or simply click here to register (when prompted, enter CSTARR for the User Name and cawnps735! for the password). A map will be included in a confirmation email. For additional information, please contact Alan Watkins at AWatkins@sandiego.gov.
(CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH VIDEO)
This video gives a fantastic overview of the San Diego Mayor’s Cyber Cup Competition, and what it means to the students, teachers, and organizations involved. For more information on how you can get involved, download this document: