Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I'm taking a class in computer network defense this quarter, and it's shaping up to be quite an experience. The course is actually a competition, involving AFIT, all the service academies and the Naval Postgraduate College.

Each school has been given a (deliberately inadequate) amount of fake money to build a real computer network. We have to put it together, lock it down and make it as secure as possible, while still providing certain services (email, web server, etc). Then, the NSA is going to try to get in - and the school that keeps them out the most / longest / best wins.

I'm co-leading a team of 14 people. We're all inexperienced (many, including me, have zero experience doing this sort of stuff). We don't have much time, we aren't allowed to (cyber)attack back, and did I mention they deliberately didn't give us enough resources to create a truly secure network? Oh, and the attackers from the NSA have been doing this same exercise for several years now...

The whole situation reminds me of Gimli the dwarf from LOTR: "Certain death, little chance of success... what are we waiting for?"

This also happens to be my favorite type of challenge. Bring it on, NSA! Bring it on...

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