Cyber Engineering Students Graduate with Hackfest

Aug 14, 2011

Students of a cyber engineering course at the Air Force Institute of Technology will graduate today at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base - after the program's capstone event. 31 program graduates were separated into two teams competing against each other in large-scale cyber warfare. The cyber security boot camp was created by AFIT’s center for cyberspace research in response to the growing number of cyber security issues. 

Dr. Tim Lacey is the IT Director and is also one of the course’s instructors. He says the students were provided some basic goals and tools for the event known as ‘Hackfest’.

“We do not get into the detail running of the exercise. We give them the infrastructure. We give them the tools. We give them the education that they need to conduct it. Then we try to give them a framework that makes it fair for both teams and then we turn them loose. Of course they’re all very competitive, and they all want to win. It’s just interesting to watch the dynamics play out," says Lacey.

Lt. Nina Weissgerber finished the course back in 2007. This year she helped run the program.

“Well this is critical practice for them, it gives them a hands-on opportunity to practice in a live-fire person on person. They can see actively what’s going on. They’re expecting things to be going on, so they have that leg-up. It shows all of the concepts that they’ve been learning over the past eight weeks," says Weissgerber.

Advanced Cyber Engineering, or ACE, is the nation’s only cyber security program for ROTC cadets that combines education, hands-on experience, and research internships with Air Force scientists and engineers. Along with cyber-security, leadership development is also a part of the program.