CyberPatriot is a secondary school-level cybersecurity competition based around hardening instances of desktop and server machines. Sponsored by the Air Force Association and Northrop Grumman, the program is an initiative to inspire a new generation of engineers for the adapting government landscape. It presents a unique experience, especially to those without any prior introduction to the subject matter.
Unfortunately, much of the competition is hazed with an air of mystery; if not for the upperclassmen who had first introduced me I would have had no idea what CyberPatriot entailed before diving straight in competition day. Even after two years I realized I wasn’t much more aware of what was really going on beyond the Mario coin sound playing every time I got lucky with installing anti-virus software. This expository piece is my effort to alleviate this void in understanding, if not only for myself but for any other CyberPatriot stuck in the same rut.