Cyber Research Center
Welcome to the Cyber Research Center
The Cyber Research Center (CRC) is one of three research centers in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (PRC, RRC). The research centers exist to provide opportunities for development to both Cadets and faculty, above and beyond the curriculum. The CRC focuses on opportunities and research that span the entire continuum of cyberspace operations.
CRC Mission: To educate and inspire Cadets in cyberspace operations, find and sustain margin of excellence opportunities for Cadets and faculty, and build and maintain ties with Army and national cyberspace operations community to develop the skills of young men and women necessary to fight and win in the Cyber domain
Thursday through Sunday, 8-11 August 2019, 12 cadets and six faculty members from the United States Military Academy attended DEFCON 27, the 2019 iteration of one of the oldest and largest continually running hacker conventions in the world. More than 27,500 hackers, security professionals, and hobbyists attended this year.
Cadets were exposed to a wide variety of talks, competitions, and events including private access to the Capture-The-Packet range at the Packet Hacking Village from Aries Security, where the entire group received instruction and completed challenges building their ability to understand and analyze network threats based on TCP/IP traffic. Another cadet-favorite event was a talk titled “Hacking Congress”, which focused on opportunities to impact federal, state, and local government policy surrounding cybersecurity. Many of the cadets attended the Voting Village, which featured real voting machines used around the United States for elections. Most – if not all – of those machines were hacked by the end of DEFCON. Other very interesting talks included walkthroughs of both United States and Russian doctrinal views and historical operations in the cyber and information domains, presented by longtime veterans of the US intelligence community.
Several cadets participated in contests and challenges, including one cadet who earned the Red Team Village’s challenge patch through a clever bit of social engineering. Other cadets explored vulnerabilities in their fitness trackers at the AppSec Village, performed network reconnaissance at the Recon Village, learned about vulnerabilities in modern automobile control systems at the Car Hacking Village, or defeated physical security devices (including handcuffs) at the Lock picking and Lock Bypass Villages. Most of the group attended various talks on the main stages which covered penetration testing, new vulnerabilities and exploits, novel exploit development methods, and modern network security tools.
Throughout the conference, cadets were able to network with USMA graduates, current and former service members, US government civilians, security industry leaders, and famous hackers. Each cadet left the event with at least a little new knowledge, new skill, and renewed inspiration.