Ramona NJROTC cadets hone their cybersecurity skills

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For six hours last month, eight Ramona NJROTC cadets were tasked with keeping their “business” IT network safe from hackers, malware and other vulnerabilities during the SoCal Cyber Cup. The NJROTC program has a dedicated facility on campus to conduct training and compete in CyberPatriot competitions.

Mentoring the Ramona NJROTC team is Jonathan Burchmore, who works in the industry.

“This year’s So Cal Cyber Cup put our cadets up against teams from across San Diego County in a test of computer security skills,” said Burchmore. “The competition required the cadets to learn and apply skills that will prepare them for a job in cybersecurity or IT. During the competition, the cadets used offensive, defensive and forensic techniques to overcome challenges.”

The NJROTC cadet team also answered a variety of questions to test general knowledge, used password cracking to identify weak and compromised passwords, analyzed log files and encrypted files to identify data exfiltrated by attackers and exploited improperly configured network services.

“You don’t have to look very far in the headlines to find a news story about a security breach, data leak or ransomware attack these days,” Burchmore said. “The skills the cadets demonstrated during the competition are both directly applicable to those scenarios and in high demand.”

During the April 23 Cyber Cup competition, each of the participating cadets had various roles to fulfill.

“For this cyber competition I did network trafficking,” second-year Cadet Tyler Troyer said. “This is where you analyze the different flow of communications sent through the internet and check where, when, and what was sent. It involved going through lots of different tabs of long uncut details, decoding things, and remembering IP addresses.”

Cadets Leo Dinero and Hazel Galindo work their individual missions to support NJROTC's CyberPatriot team.

Cadets Leo Dinero and Hazel Galindo work their individual missions to support NJROTC’s CyberPatriot team.

(Courtesy CDR Rick Jordan )

Second-year Cadet Hazel Galindo had the task of managing the Linux and cryptology portion of the competition.

“The Linux challenges required us to know Linux basic commands and the cryptography challenges needed us to know what tools to use to…