Department of Mathematics & Statistics

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AFIT teams top scorers in Cyber Defense Exercise
Posted: 05/02/2008 by AFIT Public Affairs

CDXThe Air Force Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Computer Engineering 528 and 628 classes participated in the Spring 2008 Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX). The CDX, administered by the National Security Agency, is a competition that allows both undergraduate and graduate students at the military service academies, the Naval Postgraduate School, and AFIT to gain real-life experience in the protection of critical computing resources. Through a set of operational attack scenarios spanning four days, the students must manage the network under attack and respond appropriately to keep services available to the end-users. In this year's event, the military academies and the two graduate schools all competed against each other for the best score, though only the service academies compete for the coveted CDX trophy. Two teams devised of 26 AFIT military, civilian, and IDE students joined together to conduct defensive network operations that included standing up and securing the AFIT CDX network. The students spent three months setting up their networks and analyzing preconfigured images provided by NSA. Students had to detect and remove preinstalled malware before conducting the exercise to ensure the network was secure. They also used an encryption technology called IPSEC (IP Security) to determine exactly the interaction allowed for their machines. AFIT's use of IPSEC is not the traditional point-to-point tunnels but a host-based wrapping that allows detailed specificity of the computer's communication with other network entities. The students went above and beyond expectations as AFIT was the only school to remain uncompromised this year. AFIT's Team 2 took the top score and Team 1 was right behind in second place, while the United States Military Academy at West Point was the top academy and took home the CDX trophy for the second year in a row. This year's CDX was a tremendous challenge for all of the students and a wonderful hands-on learning environment for all.

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