CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait -- Two teams consisting of Soldiers assigned to the 449th Combat Aviation Brigade claim three individual team awards while competing in the U.S. Army Central Command's fourth annual Best Cyber Ranger Competition held at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, May 8-10, 2018.
The Best Cyber Ranger event is a competitive and fun interactive learning experience within the realm of cybersecurity designed to facilitate a culture of awareness to reduce the risk and increase security posture of the Army, Department of Defense, and personal networks.
Teams competed in cyber offensive and defensive scenarios including dumpster diving and responding to an attack, game show type competitions to include "Cyber Jeopardy" and "Are You Smarter Than A Cyber Tech?" as well as other events such as the stress competition.
"This competition allowed us to practice our skills in a safe environment while interacting with folks with different skill levels," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Vincent D'Agostino, system info technician. "It also allowed our Soldiers to network with others in similar fields."
The type of skills put on display by these Soldiers included the ability to gather intelligence to access a defined network in the dumpster dive event, physical strength in the stress competition with the flex-arm hang and seated power throw, as well as the technical knowledge to defend a network.
Team One members included U.S. Army Capt. Jason Skoland, Headquarters Support Company, 248th Aviation Support Battalion, D'Agostino and Staff Sgt. Melvin Vasquez, both assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 449th Combat Aviation Brigade. This team's accomplishments include a first-place finish in the "Are You Smarter Than a Cyber Tech" event, which consisted of a ten-question trivia style competition. Team One placed sixth overall in a field of 16 teams.
The 449th CAB Soldiers participating in the three-day competition spanned across two battalions including the 248th Aviation Support Battalion and 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, allowing the brigade to further its capability to defend the network.
"We were able to allow our cyber team to grow and learn as a single unit," said D'Agostino. "Practical exercises responding to several network incidents as a cohesive unit will pay dividends in the event of a real incident on our network."
Team Two members included U.S. Army Sgt. Jimmy Li, Spc. Bernardo Espinalpolanco, both assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment and Spc. Jordan Struck, assigned to Headquarters Support Company, 248th Aviation Support Battalion. Team Two's accomplishments included a second-place finish in the Incident Response Scenario and a third-place finish in "Cyber Jeopardy". Team Two finished 7th overall in the competition.
Struck reflected on the event, as well as lessons learned during the competition.
"There were a lot of great training tools and methods that were utilized in the hands-on exercises," said Struck. "Learning about my options to further my career as well as broadening my knowledge of cyber security was a great experience."
The 449th CAB cyber team return to nearby Camp Buehring, Kuwait and other areas of the Central Command Area of Responsibility with three trophies and a wealth of knowledge to better defend the brigade's network from cyber attacks, wherever and whenever they may come.