Cyber Security Camp Sparks Interest in Science Careers

Island Waves - June 13, 2013 - Read Article

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas- When it comes to fighting the war that is waged online, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is on the front lines. Recently accredited by the National Security Agency to train students for high-paying cyber security jobs, this summer the University is hosting three cyber-security camps for high school students and teachers. The camps are broken into intermediate and advanced levels.

“This camp is a great way to expand your knowledge of computer security,” said Emily Segler, a junior from Ray High School, and a member of her school’s cyber-defense team. “I plan on attending the University after I graduate and majoring in a related field.”

Steve Alves, Instructor of Computer Sciences, oversees the classes during the camp. Having many years of experience in computer forensics, he says he strives to make the camp fun and hands on for all those that attend.

“Most people do not realize the importance of cyber security, so the camp is a great way to educate students and teachers,” said Alves.

The Island University’s computer science program focuses on research and development in all aspects of information security and represent a response to this fast growing, national need. President Obama states in his Cyber-security Legislative Proposal that "cyber-threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation." This camp helps the University meet that challenge by getting high school students interested in furthering their education in the cyber-security field and preparing them to fill these high paying jobs.

The current class started Monday, June 10 and goes through Friday, June 14. Other sessions for intermediate and advanced students will be held in July and August. Students who attend the camps can expect to further their knowledge of computer forensics and cyber-security.

NSA Certifies Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Program Aimed at Cyber Security

Island Waves - May 15, 2013 - Read Article

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students will be on the front lines, training to fight the war that is waged online.

The University has been designated as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE), for the academic years 2013-2015, by the National Security Agency (NSA).

According to the Department of Defense, reducing vulnerabilities in national information infrastructures requires much more than leading-edge technology, it requires well-trained, skilled people. The accreditation from the NSA is given to only a limited number of universities that have strong academic programs, faculty credentials, and outreach programs.

The Island University’s computer science projects focus on research and development in all aspects of information security and represent a response to this fast growing, national need. President Obama states in his Cyber-security Legislative Proposal that "cyber-threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation."

Because of this, the Department of Labor predicts a faster-than-average job growth for Information Security Analysts, with a projected 22 percent increase from 2010 to 2020. Dr. John Fernandez, Associate Director for the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi says this means students graduating with a cyber-security emphasis, from a program that is CAE certified, will have an advantage over other students looking for employment.

“With the increasing number of cyber-attacks, the need for more cyber-security graduates will continue for many years to come,” said Fernandez. “The certification will ensure that A&M-Corpus Christi graduates can fill those higher-paying positions.”

This prestigious designation will also provide federal internship and scholarship opportunities for A&M-Corpus Christi students.

The certification begins in June and will last for two years before re-certification is needed. The CAE certificates will be presented at the 17th annual Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education on Monday, June 10.

College notes from the Coastal Bend: 10.31.11 - Cyber Panoply Competition

Caller Times - Tina Vasquez - October 31, 2011 - Read Article

Teams from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi took home first and third place at the Panoply Cyber Security Competition on Oct. 15 at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Members of the two Cyber Defense Teams were: Brad Hannah, Jose Chica, Andrew Lopez, Sean Sandoval, Esteban Campos, Nathan Darr, Justin Mausolf and David Avila. Both teams made up of Computer Science majors were coached by Steve Alves, Computer Science instructor of the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences and assisted by Irvan Hendrik and Hayford Osei.

The competition establishes a pipeline of highly qualified college students who are interested in pursuing cybersecurity careers.

Students will test cyber security skills vs. peers

Caller Times - Ellen Braunstein - February 6, 2011 - Read Article

CORPUS CHRISTI — Flour Bluff High School junior Alex Blanke never understood the tools to remove viruses from his computer. But he wanted to learn.

Now he is on a mission to search and destroy computer viruses and other security threats. He and sophomore Sierra Alves represent Flour Bluff in a nationwide high school competition that trains students to secure computer systems and fend off cyber attacks.

Cyber security has become increasingly vital to national defense. That's why the Air Force Association in Washington, D.C. launched the first high school cyber defense challenge in 2008 called CyberPatriot.

"Because of our nation's reliance on the Internet," said Sandy Schlitt, board chairman of the American Air Force Association, "we need huge numbers of cyber security specialists to defend the Pentagon, Wall Street, weapon systems, satellites."

The competition is designed to instill cyber responsibility in teenagers and encourage the next generation of cyber security professionals, Schlitt said.

"There are career opportunities for youth who have just graduated high school, all the way to Ph.Ds," she said.

Sierra thinks cyber defense could be a potential career path for her. She likes to figure things out and finds cyber security a fun challenge, he said.

Her father, Steve Alves, is a cyber security instructor at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and a volunteer CyberPatriot coach for Flour Bluff High School.

"It's ideal for a student who is inquisitive and curious as to why things work the way they do," Steve Alves said.

"It grabbed my attention. It's nerve-racking and exciting," said Alex, who plans to become an engineer. "I've gotten viruses before on my computer. It would have been avoided had I known about security."

Competing against 191 high schools, Flour Bluff advanced with 51 teams to the third round of the CyberPatriot challenge on Jan. 8. That round determined which 12 teams would receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the finals. Flour Bluff came close, but didn't make the cut.

CyberPatriot challenge has a second track in which JROTC units of all services and Civil Air Patrol squadrons compete. In all, the competition has attracted more than 650 teams. The winning teams in the high school and JROTC divisions share $5,000 each.

At the start of the timed, online competition, the teams are given passwords. Then they log onto the system and, like a game of Space Invaders, they duke it out with hackers on Mac, Windows and Linux platforms.

Teams are scored based on how quickly and effectively they find and correct weaknesses in the simulated networks.

The Flour Bluff team is seeking to recruit more students for next year's CyberPatriot competition, Alex said. "I'm looking forward to having more after-school practices once more people know about it."

New Cyber Defense Lab

Island Waves - June 20, 2008 - Read Article

The Cyber Defense Laboratory (CDL) was implemented as a collaborative effort between the Department of Computing Sciences and the University’s Computer Services personnel. The CDL will support TAMUCC’s Cyber Defense Team which is an organization focused on knowledge sharing, social networking and preparing students to participate in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC). This program is an extension of the college learning process and is open to all students. By networking with other students and industry professionals, CCDC affords students insight into real computer security and operational challenges plus potential employment opportunities.

The three day National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is an annual competition that affords interested students a chance to test their knowledge at managing and protecting an existing company computer environment. Students are given approximately one hour to familiarize themselves with the computer environment, before a red team begins attacking. Students are required to maintain the computer environment and address company needs while also protecting the environment from the red team.

The Cyber Defense lab will allow students to explore a wide range of computer security techniques and configurations, operating systems and networking hardware. Subject matter experts are available to help students with little or no knowledge through individual and group lead hands-on exercises.