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‘Big Red One’ Soldiers win at All-Army Cyberstakes competition

By Spc. Elizabeth Payne | 19TH PUBLIC AFFAIRS DETACHMENT | October 28, 2016

     Three “Big Red One” Soldiers of the division’s Information Technology office earned first place in individual competitions during the inaugural All- Army Cyberstakes, an online competition held Sept. 9 to 18.

     Sgt. Matthew F. Cundari, senior information technology specialist, Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, finished first out of all noncommissioned officers in the Army. Spc. William D. Smith, information technology specialist, DHHB, 1st Inf. Div., finished first out of all junior enlisted Soldiers in the Army and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin Koontz, senior information protection technician, DHHB, 1st Inf. Div., finished first out of all signal warrants.

     Koontz also finished in fourth place among all warrant officers in the Army.

     Top honors in the competition went to those Soldiers who earned the most points by completing web-based tasks to include answering cryptology questions, gaining administrative access to the back-end of a website to collect data and performing binary exploitation, which is to hack a program into divulging specific data returns.

     “Our team … competed individually at the Army level and performed extremely well,” said Koontz, who finished fourth of all warrant officers and first place of all signal warrants. “This competition has strengthened our critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as technical cyber skills within the … section.”

     The opportunity to compete was a gateway to allow the Soldiers to go forward and participate at the inaugural International Conference on Cyber Conflict Oct. 21 to 23 in Washington, D.C.

     According to the CyCon U.S. website, there will be an exchange of information covering topics focused on the future of international cooperation, forthcoming conflicts in cyberspace and the potential for new legal frameworks, standards and regulations.

     “The information provided there will broaden our understanding of what happens on a grand scale,” Cundari said. “We put counter-measures in place versus actively defending against threats.”

     The two Soldiers said they look forward to bringing back what they learn and sharing the information with all echelons of the IT office.

     “A lot of our services (in the IT office) run on the backbones of program security and the web exploitation,” Smith said.

     Smith said the competition and conference would help IT personnel streamline their workflow and service people faster, yet accurately and efficiently.