Everything You Need to Know About NCL at WiCyS 2019

I’m utterly lost for words to describe how excited I am to announce that the Women in Cyber Security Conference (WiCyS) has partnered with the National Cyber League (NCL) to present the first official WiCyS CTF!

If you stumbled your way to my blog because you are here as a WiCyS attendee who has never heard of NCL, you can find out about NCL via one of my previous posts found here: What is the National Cyber League and Why is it Better than a Norwegian Cruise?. Alternatively, if you are here from NCL and have never heard of WiCyS, I recommend reading my recap of my first WiCyS back in 2017: Women in Cyber Security (WiCyS) 2017 Recap or you can check out the info from my first workshop which I presented at WiCyS 2018: N00bSec to Cyber-Champion: Hacking the National Cyber League for Success.

So what do you need to know about the NCL CTF at WiCyS 2019?!

First, just by registering to attend WiCyS 2019, you will get exclusive early access to the 2019 NCL Spring Season Training Gymnasium. WiCyS will be sending you further details on how to sign up for the CTF via email soon so keep an eye out! This will be open at noon on Monday, March 25th. It will remain open through the end of the conference.

Once you arrive at the conference, you will find an informational flyer in your welcome bag. It will have a code that is unique to you. (We ask that you do not photograph or post your code so that the competitors are limited to just actual WiCyS attendees!) You can follow the directions on that flyer and use your unique code to enter the actual conference-wide CTF. This game will run from the beginning of registration on Thursday, March 28th, until 10am on Saturday, March 30th.

The competition is open to ALL conference attendees but is highly recommended and encouraged for all students and educators.

From 4:30-6:30pm on Thursday, March 28th, I will be hosting a workshop called the

WiCyS Social CTF Village and Competition

The National Cyber League (NCL) offers engaging, entertaining, measurable and scalable methods of learning to enlist a new generation of cybersecurity professionals. Following up on our highly successful NCL workshop at WiCyS 2018, we will host an immersive social NCL Capture the Flag (CTF) to take place during the entire WiCyS 2019 conference. Fellow NCL student champions will help run work groups, training students and coaches alike in categories such as Cryptography, Log Analysis, Network Traffic Analysis, Web Access Exploitation, Password Cracking and more.

Students can chat with me, your NCL Chief Player Ambassador Kaitlyn “CryptoKait” Bestenheider to learn how NCL jump-started her education and career. Educators and coaches can learn about incorporating NCL into their classroom curriculum. Recruiters and talent scouts can meet with NCL Commissioner, Dr. Dan Manson, to learn how they can use NCL’s Scouting Report to find top talent in their area! Even industry professionals can stop by and offer their time to mentor within a subject area of their choice for as long as they like.

Challenges for this entire conference-long CTF will be tailored to the WiCyS community in an effort to drive students to learn more about WiCyS as part of their research to solve challenges.

This workshop will have limited seating and WiCyS will provide information on how to sign up. It will be first come, first served based on pre-registration.

At closing ceremonies, NCL will be selecting 3 students to receive prizes which may or may not include 2020 WiCyS conference scholarships, 2019 Spring Season NCL registration codes, NCL SWAG, Cyber Skyline SWAG, and whatever else the various marketing teams come up with.

Use a great hacker handle because the top 25 student scores will go up on our leaderboard at closing ceremonies! See if you can beat yours truly, @CryptoKait. (PS the best way to beat me is to ask me so many questions throughout the conference I don’t have ANY time to compete myself!)

To all Students,

To me, you are the most important people for me to reach out to at this conference. If you can do nothing else, check out the practice gymnasium before the conference. The NCL games gave me the competitive advantage against my peers (male and female) to stand out in job interviews and gave me the confidence that I could prove my skills.

Many times, at women in technology conferences, I have heard the statistic that women will not apply for a job unless they have 100% of the listed requirements, whereas men will apply for jobs if they have 60 or 65% of the listed requirements. My fear is that this applies to CTFs as well.

When you compete in CTF’s, it gives you the opportunity to try your hand at real-world scenarios based on industry-recognized certifications that give you the perfect playground to discover your talents! In the classroom or educational lab, you are often given the perfect command to run on the perfect target to get the exact result the instructors expect. In the real world, you will never have a perfect target. With NCL, you get to work with less than ideal environments to really solidify your mastery of skills.

And if you are still on the fence, give it a try. It will be free to you and, if you get stuck, I will have a help desk where someone will be available during all conference hours to walk you through any and all challenges! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Please don’t miss this opportunity!

To all educators,

I’m so happy to tell you that you will also have free access to these resources as well. Take an hour or so to check out this fantastic and interactive learning platform. NCL’s website and all of the attendees have plenty of resources to help you incorporate the NCL Season (which happens to coincide with fall and spring school semesters) into your curriculum and classroom.

In my personal experience, as a former theatre major who had no place being put on an infosec team when I was, it is a life-changing educational experience. I used the content I was challenged on by NCL to nail my job interviews and their scouting report that all student participants received gave me tangible evidence of, not only my success, but also my growth over time (and therefore potential).

To everyone else in attendance at WiCyS,

It will be a lot of fun. I personally made sure all the challenges focused on WiCyS, women of historical significance, and female-oriented fun. The content is no different in skillsets or challenge difficulty, just theme.

If you find yourself free, accept this as my official invitation to join myself and the rest of the NCL team in mentoring all the student attendees on any and all challenges that strike your fancy. (Or play the games for your own enjoyment!)

I will be hosting a webinar that WiCyS will be announcing very soon. Please sign up to join me and feel free to ask me any and all questions you may have.

Thank you for allowing me to bring this opportunity to you and comment below to tell me what NCL or WiCyS (or both) mean to you!

Happy Hacking!

4 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About NCL at WiCyS 2019

  1. Karen Schwarzbauer says:

    I have participated in NCL twice before and it was a blast, and definitely something that I wish I had more time for. Where is WiCyS held, or is it online?

    Liked by 1 person

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