CHARLESTON, S.C. – Sailors assigned to Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) participated in the 5th annual Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition at Trident College April 10.
The competition is a three-day event hosted by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SSC Atlantic) in collaboration with the South Carolina Low-country Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA). It’s used to promote cyber security education and awareness and focuses on preparing the next generation of cyber security professionals.
NCDOC’s team consisted of seven Sailors from across the command and two college embeds: Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 1st Class Garret Young, team captain; Information Systems Technician 1st class Jordan Zeveney, co-captain; Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class Shayne Austin-Hanson; Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class Nathan Davis; Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class David Posocco; Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class Patrick Hart; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Patrick Sims; Mr. Joshua Mittendorf representing Trident Technical College; and Mr. Michael Ippolito representing ECPI University.
“One of the lessons that I was fortunate enough to take away, or reinforce, was the value of teamwork” said Davis. “One of the reasons that NCDOC was able to be as successful as were during the competition was our familiarity to our common and shared work ethics.”
The objectives of the competition were constructed around protecting the fictitious Palmetto Shipping Company through maritime cyber security and network defense. Eight professional Blue Teams composed of both civilian and military personnel defended their mock shipping networks from network intrusions and automated assaults from the Red Team during the day scenario. Blue Teams scored points throughout the competition based on their ability to accomplish administrative and business task injections, while maintaining the availability of mail, web, and database servers, network services, and operational control of their fictitious ships. Blue Teams also gained points based on their responses to Red Team activity.
Red Team engagements came in the form of network enumeration, automated attacks, and malicious software, often resulting in a denial of service. Blue Teams received a mere 15 minutes to identify and assess network assets, while developing a cooperative relationship with the embedded college students. The NCDOC Team, known as the “War Dolphins,” successfully identified malware on their system, installed and secured a file-transfer protocol (FTP) server, cannibalized a security server, analyzed a memory sample, and maintained network availability for the duration of the competition. The team took second place that day, losing by a mere 11/100th of a point.
“Events such as this competition allow Sailors and other participants to exercise their skills in a high pressure, high stress environment,” said Randy Rose, NCDOC N2 deputy. “Competitions promote teamwork amongst an ensemble cast of players with varying skill sets which fosters collaboration and creative problem solving.”
NCDOC enables global power projection through proactive network defense of navy computer networks and systems and reports operationally to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.
U.S. Fleet Cyber Command serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command, and the Navy’s Service Cryptologic Component commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. Fleet Cyber Command also reports directly to the Chief of Naval Operations as an Echelon II command.
U.S. 10th Fleet is the operational arm of Fleet Cyber Command and executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders. In this role, C10F provides operational direction through its Maritime Operations Center located at Fort George Meade Md., executing command and control over assigned forces in support of Navy or joint missions in cyber/networks, information operations, electronic warfare, cryptologic/signals intelligence and space.