2018 NSA Cyber Exercise (NCX) Documentary


♪ tense piano, pulsing ♪ [Female Narrator]
THE LANDSCAPE OF BATTLE IS ALWAYS CHANGING. [artillery blast] THE UNITED STATES MILITARY
NO LONGER DEFENDS ONLY LAND,
AIR, AND SEA. THE WAR NOW EXTENDS
TO A GLOBAL THEATER… IN A VIRTUAL DOMAIN. BEFORE MANY OF AMERICA’S
WARFIGHTERS BECOME SOLDIERS, AIRMEN, SAILORS,
MARINES… THEY ARE CADETS
AND MIDSHIPMEN. TRAINING TOMORROW’S
FRONTLINE LEADERS IN THE CYBER DOMAIN
IS A CRITICAL PRIORITY FOR NATIONAL
SECURITY. ♪ driving orchestra
and percussion ♪ THE NATIONAL SECURITY
AGENCY CYBER EXERCISE TAKES PLACE
OVER 3 DAYS. CADETS AND MIDSHIPMEN
FROM ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, COAST GUARD AND MERCHANT MARINES
SEND TEAMS TO COMPETE IN A SERIES OF
EXERCISE MODULES. NCX SIMULATIONS
TEST DEFENSIVE, AS WELL AS
OFFENSIVE TACTICS. IN CYBER, BLUE MARKS THE
DEFENSIVE SIDE OF THE CAMPAIGN, WHILE RED SEEKS OUT
VULNERABILITIES, STRIKING TO DISMANTLE
OR DISRUPT NETWORKS, SYSTEMS AND
OPERATORS. [Army Cadet] THESE ARE THE
TYPES OF COMPETITIONS WHERE YOU GET TO SEE WHAT
YOU’D BE UP AGAINST AS A FUTURE CYBER
OFFICER IN THE MILITARY. ♪ piano pulses ♪ [Merchant Marine]
IT’S HUGE FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND
FOR THE MILITARY TO HAVE PEOPLE WHO
UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF THE CYBER
WORLD AND THE SIGNIFICANT RISKS
THAT IT POSES. [Navy Midshipman] SO IF YOU
START PRODUCING OFFICERS THAT KIND OF HAVE A
BACKGROUND IN CYBERSECURITY, ESPECIALLY BEING IMMERSED IN
IT, WITHIN THE ACADEMIES, THEN YOU’RE GONNA UNDERSTAND
THE PROBLEMS GOING FORWARD. [Narrator]
IN 2018 NCX IS HELD IN ANNAPOLIS,
MARYLAND. HOME OF THE NAVAL
ACADEMY SINCE 1845. ♪ hopeful piano
and orchestra ♪ [Moderator]
GOOD MORNING. HAPPY CYBER
MONDAY. A FINE DAY TO
FIGHT CYBER WARS… BEGIN WITH PAPER. [Navy Midshipman] OUR
GOAL IS TO TAKE IN 2 SCENARIOS THAT
WE WERE GIVEN AND COME UP
WITH SUGGESTIONS AS TO HOW CYBER
POLICY WOULD BE APPLIED TO THOSE
SCENARIOS. AND WE WERE GIVEN ABOUT
3 HOURS TO DO THIS. [Coast Guard] SO LEGAL AND
POLICY FRAMEWORKS THAT ARE USED FOR INTERAGENCY
COOPERATION… AND THERE’S LIKE FIVE.
‘E-O 13388’… 1-3-3-8-8… THE NATIONAL
INTELLIGENCE STRATEGY… [Coast Guard midshipman]
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT, AND NONE OF THE OTHER
TEAMS HERE DO EITHER. BUT WE TRIED TO READ
THROUGH ALL THOSE ARTICLES AND ALL THE REFERENCES
AND DOCUMENTATION THEY GAVE US AS
FAST AS WE COULD. AND TRY TO ANSWER
A SCENARIO OR FIGURING OUT A COURSE
OF ACTION FOR A GIVEN SITUATION
AND SCENARIO. I THINK THAT
WENT OK! [laughs] [Navy] DID WE ANALYZE
EVERYTHING? YES. ALL THE POINTS
ARE DOWN. LET’S DO IT. STAPLE IT. [Army] HE WAS GRADING
OUR EARLIER STUFF. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [Narrator] SENIOR LEADERS
FROM 7 INTELLIGENCE AND DEFENSE AGENCIES
EVALUATE THE FIRST DRAFT OF EACH TEAM’S
POLICY WRITE-UP. [Air Force cadet] WE
KNEW NAVY WAS GOING TO BE A LITTLE EXPERIENCED
IN THE POLICY REALM JUST BECAUSE I
KNOW THEIR MAJOR, THEIR CYBER POLICY MAJOR,
IS MORE FOCUSED ON THAT. [Navy midshipman] I’M A
CYBER OPERATIONS MAJOR HERE; IT’S THINGS THAT
WE’VE LEARNED THROUGHOUT THE
LAST 3 YEARS. IN THOSE CLASSES WE ALSO
GET INTO THE STRUCTURE OF THE GOVERNMENT, HOW THE
AGENCIES WORK TOGETHER, AND HOW ALL OF THAT
RELATES TO CURRENT EVENTS. [Moderator] WE TALK
A LOT ABOUT DEFENSE IN OUR SCENARIOS, BUT
AS YOU WELL KNOW, THERE’S ANOTHER SIDE TO THE
COIN AND THAT’S OFFENSE. [Narrator] TEAMS RECEIVE
FINAL DIRECTION FROM THEIR COACHES. THE ACADEMIC COURSEWORK
THESE PROFESSORS TEACH THROUGH THE YEAR IS NOW
APPLIED TO THE CYBER EXERCISE. [Moderator] FOLKS, THIS IS
YOUR 5 MINUTE WARNING. [Army] I DON’T THINK THERE’S
ANYTHING ELSE WE CAN DO IN 5 MINUTES THAT’S GONNA
ADD SIGNIFICANTLY TO THIS. [Narrator] FRAMING PROPER
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, AND ACTING UNDER
CLEAR AUTHORITY, ARE THE OFTEN
UNRECOGNIZED HALLMARKS OF THE UNITED
STATES MILITARY. [Moderator] ALL RIGHT,
FOLKS, PENCILS DOWN… IF YOU ARE COMPLETING THE
LAST PART OF THE SCENARIO, PLEASE FINISH UP
YOUR STUFF WHETHER YOU’RE
DONE OR NOT. [Senior Leader] I KNOW
IT’S FUN TO BE ON KEYBOARD. BUT ALL OF THESE THINGS ON
KEYBOARD DON’T HAPPEN UNLESS YOU HAVE A LAW
OR POLICY BEHIND IT OR A PRESIDENT TELLING
YOU TO DO SOMETHING. SO ANYWAY, JUST SOMETHING
FOR YOU TO CONSIDER. ♪ electronic,
percussive, heroic ♪ [Narrator] NCX SCORING
IS BASED ON THE BEST TEAM FINISH
IN THE MODULE. THE NAVAL ACADEMY
CLAIMS 1ST AND 2ND. COAST GUARD’S BRONZE FINISH
PLACES THEM 2ND OVERALL, AHEAD OF ARMY, AIR FORCE,
AND MERCHANT MARINES. THE SERVICE ACADEMIES MUST NOW
REGROUP FOR THE NEXT STAGE. [Moderator] LET’S JUST DO
THIS RIGHT DOWN THE ROW: MATT GO AHEAD AND
TAKE TABLE 1. CODY TABLE 2. G, TABLE 3. MR. PISANI, TABLE 4. HEYWARD, TABLE 5. TREVOR, TABLE 6. BOB, TABLE 7. KEVIN, TABLE 8. AND I’LL GIVE
TABLE 9 TO JEFF. ♪ ominous, repetitive
underscore ♪ [Coast Guard midshipman]
HONESTLY, IT KIND OF CAME ACROSS AS A
LITTLE BIT OF LIKE, “HEY, THIS IS A
CARD GAME. THIS ISN’T
CYBERSECURITY, WE’RE NOT ON A KEYBOARD
DOING ANYTHING CRAZY.” [Navy midshipman] WHEN
WE FIRST GOT HERE WE WERE KIND OF SKEPTICAL,
LIKE, “UGH, THEY’RE… GONNA MAKE US
PLAY CARDS… THERE’S NO WAY THIS CAN
RELATE TO CYBER IN ANY WAY… WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?” [Coast Guard midshipman]
STILL THE MENTALITY AND THE ACTUAL
METHODOLOGY FOR A HACKER FOR A CYBERSECURITY
SPECIALIST IS STILL THERE. [Army cadet] IT ESSENTIALLY
MIMICS HACKING A NETWORK. [Navy midshipman] SO YOU HAD
CARDS, YOU HAD OBJECTIVES, YOU HAD POINT TOTALS
THAT YOU HAVE TO GET. [Navy midshipman] A LOT
OF IT WAS VERY REACTIVE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE
PLAYING BLUE. SO IT WAS ABOUT THINKING
WHAT IS RED TEAM GONNA PLAY AND HOW CAN WE
COUNTERACT THAT. [Merchant Marine] THE WAY
THAT YOU PLAY DIFFERENT CARDS THAT REPRESENT THINGS
YOU DO IN REAL LIFE AND THE GUY WHO WAS
REFEREEING WAS TELLING US ALL THESE EXAMPLES OF HOW
HE’S SEEN THE DIFFERENT CARDS THAT WE’RE PLAYING,
PLAY OUT. AND SO THAT WAS A GOOD
LEARNING EXPERIENCE. [Merchant Marine] SO,
ROLL ON THE FILE SERVER AND THE DATABASE
SERVERS. ROLL ON, LIKE, TWOS. [Army cadet] THE MOST
POINTS YOU GET IS FROM MAINTAINING PERSISTENCE
ON THE NETWORKS. [Referee] THE BACKDOOR
ROOTKIT IS SUCCESSFUL. [Army cadet] SO YOU
HAVE TO GET IN THERE, AND YOU HAVE
TO STAY IN. [Referee] AND YOU GET
1, 2 [POINTS]… BECAUSE IT’S YOUR
FIRST ONE, 3 BECAUSE IT’S
INTERNAL, 4 BECAUSE
IT’S BACKDOOR AND EXFILTRATE
DATA… ♪ tense, bass and synthesizer♪ [Air Force cadet] WE
DIDN’T DO TOO GOOD IN THE POLICY
EXERCISE, BUT BASED ON OUR PAST PERFORMANCE
AT TECHNICAL EVENTS WE SHOULD DO
PRETTY GOOD IN THE TABLETOP
EXERCISE. [Narrator] AIR FORCE
SURGES THROUGH MODULE 2 UNDEFEATED
AFTER 3 ROUNDS. SO DOES
ARMY. AIR FORCE PLAYS WELL HOLDING
THE RED OFFENSIVE CARDS, BUT PLAYING AS THE DEFENSIVE
BLUE SIDE IN MATCH 4, THEY ARE FORCED TO A
DRAW BY COAST GUARD. [Referee] ALL RIGHT, THANK
YOU VERY MUCH. THAT IS
GAME OVER. [Narrator] THE MODULE IS
MILITARY ACADEMY’S TO WIN, BUT MODULE 1 WINNER, NAVY,
STANDS IN THE WAY. [Army cadet] WE NOTICED
WE WERE TIED WITH THE AIR
FORCE ACADEMY, WHICH WE DIDN’T THINK
WAS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE, BUT THEN ONCE WE SAW
THAT WE WERE LIKE, “OK, WE GOTTA HIT THESE GUYS
[NAVY] REALLY HARD.” [Referee] ARE YOU
GUYS READY? BLUE AND RED. THIS IS A BIG MATCH, THIS IS
FOR LIKE THE CHAMPIONSHIP. ALL RIGHT. WHAT DO
YOU WANT TO DO RED? [Army cadet] WE WERE ON
THE OFFENSIVE SIDE SO WE COULD GET
A LOT OF POINTS. AND THEN WE JUST
WENT INTO IT WITH A VERY AGGRESSIVE MINDSET.
♪ electronica ♪ [Referee] PHISHING
ON THE WORKSTATIONS. THEY GET TO ROLL
TO BE ALERTED. [Army cadet] WE HAD
ONE DESIGNATED DICE ROLLER. [Army] I WAS ABOUT TO
ROLL RIGHT NOW. [Referee]
DON’T ROLL YET! [Laughter] [Army cadet] HE STUMBLED
IN THE BEGINNING BUT THEN HE FOUND
HIS STRIDE. [Army] NICE!
[Referee] THE DICE IS FLOWING YOU GUYS. [Navy midshipman] YOU CAN
HAVE THE LUCK OF THE ROLLS, BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE
MINDSET AND THE STRATEGY IN ORDER TO WIN
THOSE TYPES OF GAMES. [Army cadet] WE PREPARED
A LOT BY KIND OF JUST THINKING THROUGH WHAT A
REAL ATTACKER WOULD DO AND WHAT A REAL
DEFENDER WOULD DO IN RESPONSE TO
THOSE ATTACKS. SO WE WERE ABLE TO SEE
THE BOARD MORE BROADLY. [Army] SNIFFING IT. [Referee] SNIFFING.
GONNA LOOK AT THE NETWORK. [Referee] BLUE TEAM.
[Navy] GONNA GO, PASSWORD RESET. [Referee] NO. [Narrator] THE ROOM GATHERS
AROUND THE FINAL TABLE AT PLAY. NAVY’S DEFENSES
ARE VULNERABLE AND ARMY IS ROLLING TO
BREACH THE NETWORK. [Army cadet] IT WAS
A LOT OF LUCK. WE WERE VERY LUCKY AT
THE END, AS WELL, I THINK. [Referee] OK,
FOR THIS ONE. SUCCESSFUL. INTERNAL WEB SERVER. AW. NOT SUCCESSFUL. THE INTERNAL FIREWALL. ♪ orchestral crescendo ♪ [cheering] [Army cadet] THE KNOWLEDGE
THAT WE GAINED HERE REALLY HELPED US
CRAFT OUR STRATEGY. IF TODAY IS ANY INDICATION,
I AM VERY EXCITED AS TO HOW TOMORROW IS
GONNA PLAY OUT. [Narrator] ARMY’S PERFECT ROLL
THROUGH THE TABLETOP EXERCISE EDGES OUT 2ND PLACE AIR FORCE
AND 3RD PLACE NAVY. WITH 2 MODULES
COMPLETE NAVY REMAINS ATOP THE
OVERALL STANDINGS. ARMY MOVES UP WHILE COAST
GUARD AND AIR FORCE ARE TIED AHEAD OF
THE MERCHANT MARINES. ♪ electronic pulses ♪ FOR THE 3RD MODULE
SERVICE ACADEMIES HAVE A SET WINDOW OF TIME TO CONDUCT
AN OFFENSIVE STRIKE. TO DO SO REQUIRES
SKILLED OPERATION AND DEFENSE OF A
CUBE SATELLITE. TEAMS USE SIGNALS
INTELLIGENCE TO FIND AND TRACK AN
ADVERSARY NAMED UNDERHILL. THEN COORDINATE
A STRIKE USING AN UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE.
♪ tense, orchestral ♪ [Air Force cadet] IT WAS A
GOOD WAY TO MOVE FROM THE POLICY AND TABLETOP EXERCISE
TO THAT SPACE MISSION. [Air Force] YEAH, I MEAN,
I’M MAPPING EVERYTHING AND IT’S SHOWING ALL
PORTS AS NO RESPONSE. [Air Force cadet] THE
SPACE MODULE, THAT ONE WAS REALLY UNIQUE BECAUSE IT
INCORPORATED BOTH THE STRATEGY ELEMENT AND
THE TECHNICAL ELEMENT. WE’RE A TECHNICALLY
FOCUSED TEAM, WE DON’T DO MUCH
OF THAT STRATEGY OR OPERATIONAL
PLANNING. [Air Force] WE ALREADY
ACTUALLY FOUND THE TARGETED COORDINATES. WE’RE JUST TRYING TO GET
THE ENEMY SATELLITE TO GO DOWN NOW. [Merchant Marine]
HE’S WORKING ON GETTING INTO THEIR
ENEMY SATELLITE. I’M WORKING ON TAKING DOWN
UNDERHILL’S COMMUNICATIONS, MAKING SURE HE CAN’T
USE THE MESSAGING APP, THAT PEOPLE TELL HIM
WHERE THE UAV IS. HE’S WORKING ON FIGURING
OUT HIS LOCATION. AND HE’S WORKING ON
PROTECTING OUR SATELLITE. [Narrator] AS TEAMS MANEUVER
SATELLITES INTO POSITION THEY MUST AVOID BLUE
AND RED WARNINGS. LOW FUEL LEVELS OR COMPROMISE
BY ENEMY CYBER-ATTACK WILL LEAVE THE CUBES
DEAD IN THE AIR. [Merchant Marine] THE FIRST
ONE IS GONNA BE TERRIBLE AND WE’RE GONNA FIGURE
OUT WHAT’S GOING ON AND THEN SUCCESSIVELY
THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS IS YOU REPEAT THE MISSION
OVER AND OVER AGAIN SO THAT YOU GET BETTER
AND BETTER AT IT. SO BY THE END OF THE DAY WE
SHOULD HAVE A REALLY GOOD IDEA OF WHAT WE’RE DOING
AND UNDERSTANDING HOW TO USE THE
DIFFERENT PROGRAMS. [Coast Guard midshipman]
GONNA GET MORE ON THE KEYBOARD RATHER THAN KIND OF
TALKING ABOUT IT AND PUTTING CARDS
ON THE TABLE. IT’S GONNA GET INTO
WIRESHARK, KALI, SSH, LIKE REAL, REAL
TECHNICAL STUFF. [Coast Guard] THE
LATEST ONE AT 13-44. YEAH. WE HAD THAT,
WE HAD A 44, BUT I JUST GOT
A NEWER ONE. 28 MINUTES, WE’RE
GOING TO 27. YOU GUYS HAVE EXACTLY
1 MINUTE RIGHT NOW. [Navy] UM, AND THEN
WE DO A ROUTER ADMIN, AT 10.0.104.103.
>>OK [Army] HE’S PRETENDING TO
BE THE SOCIAL MEDIA SITE THAT THE GUY USES,
AND I’M TRYING TO HACK INTO THE ENEMY UAV. I THOUGHT THAT WE HAD
AN AVENUE THAT WE COULD GO THROUGH BUT
I THINK THEY SHUT IT. [Navy] WE RAIDED
THEIR COMPOUND, GOT THEIR CREDENTIALS.
IT SAYS THAT IN THE INTEL. [Moderator] WE HAD
TWO KILLS OF MR. UNDERHILL
FOR THIS ROUND. [Narrator] TEAMS SWEAT
THROUGH EACH OPERATION. THEY HAVE FOUR ROUNDS
TO GAIN EXPERIENCE AND OUTSCORE
THEIR RIVALS. ACADEMIES ARE SCORED
ON MISSION PLANS AND ELIMINATING
THEIR TARGET. BUT THE TARGET ALSO SCORES
WITH EACH DOWNED ACADEMY CUBE. [Coast Guard] ARE WE OUT OF
FRICKING SAFE MODE YET? NO. [Air Force] WE’RE PRETTY
DISAPPOINTED ABOUT THE PLAN THAT WE HAD TO TURN
IN AHEAD OF TIME BECAUSE THAT’S REALLY
HURT US RIGHT NOW. I THINK THIS PART
OF THE COMPETITION IS GOING JUST FINE
BUT WE’RE LOOKING REAL BAD ON THE SCOREBOARD
BECAUSE OF THAT. [Merchant Marine]
YEAH, WE GOTTA STOP THE ENEMY SATELLITE
FROM LOOKING AT HIM AND WE GOTTA MAKE SURE OUR
SATELLITE IS STILL UP. [Coast Guard] HOW IS
MERCHANT MARINES? IT’S MILITARY
ACADEMY. WHAT HAVE THEY FOUND
THAT WE HAVEN’T FOUND? [Army] WE’RE A LOT CLOSER
THAN WE WERE LAST TIME OF ACTUALLY GETTING A
MISSILE STRIKE ON UNDERHILL. WE NEED TO BE A LITTLE BIT
QUIETER ON THE ROUTERS BECAUSE THAT
WAS THE ISSUE THAT JUST GOT US KICKED
OFF THIS ROUTER THIS TIME. [Navy] NOT MANY TEAMS
HAVE FIGURED OUT HOW TO GET
INTO THAT BOX, BECAUSE LOOK HOW MANY
POINTS UNDERHILL JUST GOT. OH, IS THAT
UNDERHILL’S POINTS? YEAH, THAT’S THE
POINTS THEY GET FROM SHOOTING
DOWN THE UAVS. ♪ orchestral,
rising tension ♪ [Navy midshipman]
IF YOU DON’T HAVE POLICY, THEN YOU’RE NOT
FOCUSING ON A CERTAIN ASPECT
OF CYBER. SAME THING WITH
THE TABLETOP, IF YOU DON’T CREATE
YOUR STRATEGY THEN YOU’RE NOT GOING TO
BE ABLE TO PREPARE VERY WELL. AND THE CUBE SAT SATELLITES,
TRACKING HIGH VALUE TARGETS… THE LIVE FIRE, TRYING TO DEFEND
AGAINST AN ACTIVE ATTACKER… IT’S ALL PART OF
THE SAME DYNAMIC. [Navy] OH, WE
GOT THE POINTS. [Moderator]
EXERCISE IS NOW OVER. [Navy]
THERE WE GO! THAT’S HUGE. HONESTLY, I THOUGHT EVERYTHING
WAS GOING WRONG FOR A SECOND. [laughs] [Narrator] THAT’S NAVY’S
3RD SUCCESSFUL STRIKE. THROUGH PLANNING
AND MISSION POINTS THEY EARN THE SPACE
MODULE VICTORY. AIR FORCE HIT BIG
WITH OFFENSIVE POINTS TO LEAD ALL ACADEMIES
IN THE LIVE FIRE CAPTURE THE FLAG
SCORING. ♪ low synthesizer
swells ♪ BUT AT THE
CONCLUSION OF THE 3-DAY NSA
CYBER EXERCISE ONE SERVICE ACADEMY
CLAIMS THE CROWN AS THE SMOKE OF
BATTLE CLEARS. ♪ cymbal crescendo,
orchestral, victorious ♪ KEEPING THE OVERALL NCX TROPHY
IN ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND… AS WELL AS A
CELEBRATORY VISIT TO THE WHITE HOUSE
ARE THE REWARDS FOR THE U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY’S
HARD-FOUGHT WIN IN THE 2018 NATIONAL SECURITY
AGENCY CYBER EXERCISE. [Navy midshipman] SINCE I’VE
BEEN HERE FOR 4 YEARS, WE’VE WON IT
3 TIMES. SO I MEAN, THAT’S A PRETTY
PROUD ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR ME. ESPECIALLY WITH ME LEADING
THE TEAM THIS YEAR, THAT’S KIND OF LIKE THE
ULTIMATE GOAL, RIGHT? OUR GOAL GOING
INTO EVERY SEASON IS TO WIN THIS
COMPETITION. WE GO OUT THERE AND WE
COMPETE AND WE HAVE FUN AND THEN
ULTIMATELY WE WIN. WE REALLY ENJOY
WHAT WE DO. WE DO IT DAY IN
AND DAY OUT. SO, I’VE BEEN
PRETTY PROUD OF THAT. ♪ victorious, orchestral,
snare drum beat with brass ♪ [Navy midshipman] I’VE GATHERED
UP MY STAFF FOR THIS NEXT YEAR AND WE ARE STARTING
TO LOOK AHEAD. WE’RE REALLY HAPPY THAT WE
WON BUT WE CAN’T STOP NOW, OTHERWISE OTHER TEAMS
ARE GOING TO PASS US UP, AND WE CAN’T LET
THAT HAPPEN. ♪ drums and
strings finale ♪

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