U.S. Army Central hosted Cyber Bowl IV - this year coined the Best Cyber Ranger Competition - to promote cyber security awareness, May 8-10, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
During the three-day event, teams went head-to-head in cyber versions of popular TV game shows such as "Cyber Jeopardy," and "Are You Smarter than a Cyber Tech."
Planners added other interactive events such as "Dumpster Diver," where participants sifted through paper-filled garbage cans for information that would allow them to gain control of critical systems.
"[The Dumpster Diver event] served as a reminder to always be mindful of what you throw away. Because the network, in the wrong hands can be a devastating weapon," said Brig. Gen. John H. Phillips, G-6 (chief information officer) for USARCENT.
Phillips, an Army Reserve officer, who also serves as commander of the 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional), explained the importance of cyber security awareness events that are fun and engaging for both the competitors and the audience.
"No matter how cool and exciting we [cyber professionals] think our jobs are, we're not shooting missiles out of the sky or dropping bombs on bad guys - the things most people find sensational," Phillips said. "But we are the silent, behind-the-scenes professionals who enable those things to happen in order to defend America's interests around the globe. So, we had to do something that would capture and keep everyone's attention."
Organizers cast a wide net for this cyber competition, drawing 15 teams from as far away as Ft. Gordon, Georgia to compete, making it the largest since its inception.
"This is the first time we've done it on this scale," said Jeffrey Jackson Jr., lead organizer and contractor with The Raytheon Company.
"In previous years, we didn't invite outside participants," he said. "All advertising was local. This year we launched a robust advertising effort, including a television commercial that aired on military installations throughout the Middle East. We also invited teams from other Regional Cyber Centers, such as the one in Korea and Europe. This will probably be the benchmark going forward now."
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian Dorr, a cyber operations technician with Cyber Protection Team 100, from Ft. Gordon, lauded this year's approach of bringing in outside teams.
"It was a creative way to engage people and learn from others. It provided networking opportunities to build partner capacity, while driving home the idea that everyone is part of the fight."
Dorr's team took home the overall first place trophy.
Phillips, in his closing remarks expressed his ultimate goal following the Best Cyber Ranger Competition.
"I hope everyone found this event to be fun and engaging," he said. "But more than anything, I hope this was a memorable experience such that every morning when you report to work, power up your computers, and with every keystroke and mouse click, keeping our network safe is at the forefront of your minds."