I currently coach our school's CyberPatriot team. (You can find information on the CyberPatriot competition here.) We are heading into our second year of competing. Last year we did pretty well for being a more casually organized team, but I'd love to bring in a stronger curriculum.

There are helpful training modules provided for coaches, but for more advanced vulnerabilities, independent study and research is necessary for achieving at the highest level in the competition. In particular, the images students must "secure" encompass a wide range of operating systems. Last year had Windows 7, Windows 8.0, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008, and Ubuntu 14.04. Additionally, students used Packet Tracer to learn networking security through the Cisco Networking Academy.

The bottom line is that there is a ton of potential information to cover, and there is a precise way to succeed at CyberPatriot. This page explaining how the competition works details the point system: basically you earn points for doing a precise task in securing the system and lose points for making it less secure.

My question is this: what resources can I use to strengthen my students' ability to succeed in this competition? For context, they are doing it as an extracurricular activity, and any resource that is engaging for students to work though on their own is a bonus. They are highly-motivated, but since there is so much out there, it's hard to know where to begin since cybersecurity is not my background.


1 Answer 1


I'm not sure how engaging these would be, but as a source of exercises and practice content, you might look towards IT professional certifications. There are things like A+ (general IT), Networking+, CCNA (Cisco), or MCSA (Microsoft sys admin), among many many exams that are quite popular and have a variety of study resources online.

This PCWorld article has some decent overviews of the tests. I'm dubious of an article promoting certifications based on studies by a group that sells certifications, but regardless, hopefully it has pointers to resources you might be able to pull from.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry if it seems like I'm nagging (sheepish grin), but I'd like to say that this seems like a good answer. If you could include the core parts of that article in your answer, it would be much better. $\endgroup$
    – ItamarG3
    Aug 9, 2017 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Computer Science Educators! I'm glad to see you posting around :) Particularly for this question, which I also need an answer to. Usually, when we post links, we also give a (tiny) summary of the most relevant points. This provides some insurance that your answer will stay useful in case the link ever goes dead. $\endgroup$
    – Ben I.
    Aug 9, 2017 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ I have seen some correlation between certifications and CyberPatriot. Do you have a specific certification in mind that relates well to the cybersecurity knowledge required of CyberPatriot? While there would not be time for students to reach certification-level, a good text resource (i.e. prep book) is something I can work with. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:17

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