Cyber war games let NSA vets pwn West Point noobs

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Call it the Long Gray Online.

Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point jousted with veteran NSA hackers as part of a three-day cyber war game last week.

Cadets built and ran networks, and they were attacked by the NSA red team at night, when they were not permitted to defend themselves. Then the cadets would run damage control duty in the mornings to restore those networks.

The grand finale was a massive bombardment.

“Our job is to make sure our network is as secure as possible and the services are all up and running so when that attack happens we have monitoring tools running and all cadets at their stations,” said Cadet Hunter Hutcheson, the team’s public affairs representative. “Of course, we fully expect this attack, but we didn’t talk about it. We talk about winning.”

A New York Times report (above) captures a previous competition, when a sign above Thayer Hall read “Information Warfare Live Fire Range.”

[via Army.mil and NYT]
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  1. MAJ Adrian Wheeler on

    It’s good to see cyber warfare is being studied and considered something worthy of exercising and war-gaming at the USMA. After conducting research on cyber-attacks against the US, I was surprised at the volume of attempts (and successes) against our systems. China has been notorious for this, as well as terrorist networks and a host of other organizations.

    I truly believe this type of threat against our defense capability hasn’t received the attention by tactical level leaders as it should have. Current and future military leaders will always have to deal with this issue, and in every capacity of operations. Joint commands will be required to combat the problem, and the leaders who fill the billets should be exposed to the issue as early as possible (such as the USMA cadets in the article).

    It doesn’t require a lot of analysis to understand the second and third-order effects of our electronic systems being compromised. Financial markets, travel, and every level of government is affected. This just adds to the “full” spectrum of operations today’s leaders are required to operate and succeed in.

    I truly hope other commissioning sources and NCOES schools are addressing the cyber warfare issue. The issue is not going to fade away, so leaders need to understand the complexities of it now. Thank you.

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