It’s been a few weeks since I presented my very first technical workshop at the 2018 Women in Cybersecurity Conference (WiCyS) in Chicago, IL. To see the Facebook Live video of the first part of the workshop, click here.
Description: This workshop is an introduction to collegiate cybersecurity competitions through the National Cyber League (NCL). Participants will be guided through a Capture-the-Flag style Hack-a-thon using an extensive list of tips and tools that guarantee success. By working through hands-on challenges, ranging from Open Source Intel to Cryptography to Network Traffic Analysis and more, participants will gain exposure to the skill sets needed to succeed in NCL. Finally, yet importantly, the participants will be provided with access to the necessary resources to implement an NCL team when they return to their university. Developed through a personal journey from a non-technical background to an NCL champion, cybersecurity instructor, and cyber team coach, this hands-on workshop will highlight how NCL’s skill assessment strengthens students’ professional development.Kaitlyn Bestenheider, Description printed in the 2018 WiCyS Program
*This workshop is supported by Pace University’s CyberCorps, Scholarship for Service program, and the General Electric Women in Technology grant to Pace University.
I wanted to follow up and provide some materials for everyone to take home. The attached file is the first version of this document. This will be updated over time as the National Cyber League, Cyber Skyline, and I continue to work together to provide materials to help students achieve success in the National Cyber League competition.
For now, here’s version one of CryptoKait’s National Cyber League Coaching Guide.
An interactive version of this workshop guide with some updated content is now available via this new page on my website!
7 thoughts on “N00bSec to Cyber-Champion: Hacking the National Cyber League for Success”
I just finished my first class in cybersecurity as the beginning of my career change and I’m so excited. I’ve started my own blog to chronicle my learning through this program and my new career, as well as teach others about cybersecurity.
For the final project to my program, the admin listed cyber competitions as one possibility, so I was really excited to come across this coaching guide of yours.
I thought these competitions had to be in teams, but your coaching guide mentioned “a team of 1 is better than nothing.” Does that mean you can compete individually? I still don’t have anywhere near the amount of skills I’d need to feel comfortable joining, but if I can do it solo and quietly, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad?
What are your thoughts?
glad to hear you are also blogging! It’s really a great way to put yourself out there and to encourage women in tech.
For the National Cyber League competition, there are 3 main parts. I talk about them pretty extensively in this blog post:
But the short version is that pre-season and regular season are for individuals. The post-season is a team competition. Teams are 2-5 players at this time. That being said, when I said a team of one, I meant more of a team in the sense of people to train with. When I went to WCC and Pace University, I had the team that I trained with which was up to almost 40 people at one point, then my team of 4 or 5 players that competed with me in post-season. I talk about the confusion between the many ways TEAM and COACH are used in the NCL in the blog below:
That being said, I definitely think NCL is one of the BEST first CTFs for students. I gave a talk about that at the Women in Cyber Security Conference (WiCyS) earlier this year. The video can be found here!
Hope that helps!
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That was fantastic, thank you for all the links to those resources. I’ll be sure to check them all out.
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