From 12 to 13 May, nineteen teams from across the globe came together to compete in the 2015 Armed Forces Joint Cyber Competition (JCC). This 48-hour event consisted of numerous challenges including: digital forensics, cryptology, network exploitation, reverse engineering, packet analysis, and trivia. As each team solved a challenge they were awarded points that would adjust over time as other competitors solved the same challenge.
For the first time ever the Military Cyber Professionals Association (MCPA) created a team to compete in an online competition. Fifteen individuals joined together across the globe from California to the Middle East to compete in the JCC. Team MCPA was truly joint, including members of academia, the Army, Navy, Air Force, government civilian employees, and from all major rank categories including enlisted, warrant, and commissioned officer.
Using email, Google Apps, and Google Hangouts, Team MCPA was able to pull ahead during the first day of competition with 287 points – the nearest competitor had 169 points. However, as other teams continued to work through the night Team MCPA lost its advantage and finished the competition 2nd in its category and 6th overall.
While Team MCPA may not have won, they did have an excellent showing and their efforts paid off well. Team MCPA solved 15 challenges totaling 239 points at the finish of the competition, beating the previous year’s champion by 65 points. There were several occasions where Team MCPA received accolades from both fellow competitors and the organizers.
Team MCPA looks forward to the future and is currently in the works of formalizing, organizing, and creating the framework for which Team MCPA competes on a regular basis. The team looks forward to being compared to elite public teams such as the “Plaid Parliament of Pwning”, run by Carnegie Melon, and “More Smoked Leet Chicken”, a powerful alliance of two Russian CTF (Capture the Flag) teams, both of which have won numerous Cyber Competitions.
Team MCPA can be reached for comment or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final score for all teams, both competitive and noncompetitive categories,
graphically displayed over time throughout the Joint Cyber Competition.(below).
Image courtesy of JCC Management.
Update (September 2015): since the publishing of this story, the "MCPA CTF Team" has been renamed "HoT" (Hammer of Thor) and has continued a cycle of training and competing. Also, the author (and HoT team captain) has been recognized with the Order of Thor medal (see below).
22 Sept 2015, Washington, DC. COL Conti (Army Cyber Institute
Director) presents Captain Metcalf the Order of Thor medal.
About the Author: Leander Metcalf
Leander is a US Army Captain assigned to US Army Cyber Command and is the MCPA CTF Competition Team Captain.