CAP cadets compete in CyberPatriot competition

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Three Civil Air Patrol cadets from the Chilton County Composite Squadron participated in the fourth National CyberPatriot Competition on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Cadet Cmdr. Sgt. Andrew McGowin of Wilsonville, Cadet 2nd Lt. Jessica Ernest of Verbena and Cadet 2nd Lt. Jacob McGowin of Wilsonville scored 100 percent in the first round by completing all 10 required tasks under a six-hour time limit.

“The system that they were given had 10 vulnerabilities in it,” said Maj. Gary Ernest, local CAP squadron commander. “There were 10 things they had to find and correct in the Windows XP system. They did it in three hours. We’re real proud of them for that.”

This is the third year Chilton County’s team has participated in the CyberPatriot competition, which started four years ago.

CyberPatriot is designed to give hands-on exposure to the foundations of cyber security. Participants fix problems on computer operating systems such as firewall protection, user accounts without passwords and lack of antivirus software.

CyberPatriot is open to all high schools, Civil Air Patrol units, JROTC units and accredited home school programs around the country.

The winners of all three rounds compete in the national championships in Washington D.C.

More than 200 teams competed in the 2010 CyberPatriot competition.

Ernest said his team fell short in Round 3 to qualify for the championships last year.

“I think Linux is where we fell short last year,” Ernest said of one of the operating systems found in the competition’s virtual machines. “None of us have much experience with that operating system.”

To prepare for Round 2, Ernest said the team is training with a Windows server, which he expects will appear in Round 2.

“It is a little harder system to work with than the first ones,” Ernest said. “We’ll (have) a Windows server machine for them to work on and train on, and a number of software programs they can utilize to help determine problems.”

Each team’s combined scores from Rounds 1 and 2 will determine who proceeds to Round 3 and Washington D.C.

“On Wednesday, we’ll find out how we ranked nationwide,” Ernest said.

Chilton County’s team will also participate in the 2011 CAP Iron Man Competition this weekend.

“They’ve been working real hard to gear up for it,” Ernest said of the Chilton County cadets. “They’ve been splitting time between a number of different competitions.”

For more information on Civil Air Patrol, visit or call (205) 280-1501.