Friday, November 7, 2014

Cyber security competition to help train TSTC students

Valley Morning Star

Courtesy Photo
Posted: Friday, October 24, 2014 10:24 pm


Charles Ward and Jorge Briseño spent the most of Saturday in a classroom.

They were competing in a National Cyber League against other students nationwide, testing their expertise in password cracking, scanning networks and ethical hacking.

CNST chairman Cesar Ibarra said the competition resembled a game and it helped the students train for a required industry certification down the road.

Ibarra said 15 students participated in the competition and met weekly for two months leading up to the event, to prepare.

“This will be a huge advantage for our students,” Ibarra said. “There are a lot of jobs in the cyber securities market and this will give our students opportunities they wouldn’t get otherwise.”

This is the first time students compete in the National Cyber League games. The students participated last semester as a test.

Ibarra said there was enough interest and success then to take part again in the fall. He hopes to compete once a semester.

For students like Ward, the hands-on experience and ability to compete with other ethical hackers around the country is invaluable experience.

“It doesn’t only prepare you for the certification exercises,” Ward said. “It gives you real-world experience on what’s going on out there. We do a lot of penetration testing and look for the holes in your system before the bad guys find them.”

Briseño said that once they earn the proper certifications that come with cyber security, they become commodities and very employable by industry.

“Big companies don’t want to lose sensitive information or have it fall into the wrong hands,” Briseno said. “So they come to us and we make sure their system can’t be compromised.”

Ibarra said these students can earn a great living working for agencies like the CIA or NSA or different Fortune 500 companies.

“They want them as soon as they graduate,” Ibarra said. “They see what they can do through their experience with National Cyber League and they’ll hire our guys on the spot without an interview or meeting them. That’s how important this competition is to us.”

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