Cyber Center News


2024 March 5

-By Dr. J. Chisholm

     Javier Colon, Seth Birtch, and Vincent Lindsay, all Information Security Analysts with HD Supply, presented “Life in the SOC”. All three presenters are past students and were active leaders of Valencia's CNET Cybersecurity Club during their tenure at Valencia College. To give back to their community, they contacted Dr. Jessica Chisholm and CNET Cybersecurity Club to see if they could present what they do daily in a security operations center.  

Key presentation points:
     HD Supply’s information security analyst's day typically begins with reviewing alerts and incident reports from the previous shift, prioritizing them based on severity and potential impact. They conduct thorough investigations into suspicious activities, analyzing logs, network traffic, and system behavior to identify and assess potential security threats. Throughout the day, they collaborate to coordinate incident response efforts, share threat intelligence, and implement security controls. This sometimes involves working closely with IT teams to patch vulnerabilities, fine-tune security configurations, and deploy new security measures.

     Additionally, each team member has to stay updated on the latest cybersecurity trends and emerging threats by continuously monitoring threat intelligence sources and participating in training sessions or workshops. Most importantly, they emphasized the crucial documentation of incidents, investigations, and remediation actions, as well as the regular communication of security status and findings to management and relevant stakeholders.


2024 March

-By J. Morales, CNET Cybersecurity Club President

     Members of the CNET Cybersecurity Club participated in the Cyber Florida Cyber Launch Event geared towards high school seniors. Noah Williams, Vice President of the CNET Cybersecurity Club, and Joshua Morales, President of the CNET Cybersecurity Club, along with Jon Sowell, AS Cybersecurity Program Advisor, and Eric Bobo, Career Program Advisor, attended the event to engage with upcoming high school graduates about their post-graduation plans. They introduced the students to the diverse opportunities available at Valencia College. Noah and Joshua shared their firsthand experiences at Valencia College, highlighting their personal growth within the AS/AA Cybersecurity program. They also promoted the Cybersecurity program by emphasizing the collaborative learning environment, hands-on projects, guest speaker sessions, and the weekly labs and Capture The Flag (CTF) challenges.

Presentations about various cybersecurity topics including certifications.


Students gather for a presentation as part of the Cyber Launch event.

Eric Bobo, Joshua Morales, Jon Sowell, Noah Williams


2023 October

-By J. Alexander

     Dr. Wael Yousif, Professor of Cybersecurity and Network Engineering Technology (CyberNET) at Valencia College, had the honor of introducing Valencia College's CyberNET program to a visiting delegation under the Community College Administrator Program (CCAP) representing Mexico.
The CCAP is an initiative supported by the U.S. State Department, with the primary goal of fostering international awareness and understanding of U.S. community colleges and their educational systems. This initiative is particularly directed at administrators of post-secondary vocational and technical institutions, as well as officials responsible for higher education planning, especially those involved in creating their own community college systems.
     Among the subjects highlighted by Dr. Yousif, one that particularly captured the interest of the delegation was the recent recognition of CyberNET as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security Agency. This prestigious designation has been held by both Valencia College and the CyberNET department since 2013.
     Impressed by his presentation, the CCAP delegates extended an invitation to Dr. Yousif to speak at future events. He will have the opportunity to share his knowledge and experiences regarding the CyberNET program and its esteemed CAE-CD designation. Dr. Yousif eagerly anticipates these opportunities.


2023 September

-By Dr. G. Roberts

     The CNET Cybersecurity Club recently joined the IEEE Orlando Chapter for an informative session hosted by an FBI agent specializing in cybersecurity matters. During this event, the agent delved into various cybersecurity topics, shedding light on the various issues and trends within the field and the investigative procedures employed. Among the current trends discussed were subjects like Business Email Compromise (BEC) and the use of cryptocurrency by ransomware organizations. The agent also touched on pertinent real-world events, such as the recent casino breach in Las Vegas. He emphasized that these types of investigations are typically managed by the offices where they are initially reported or detected.
     Students in attendance expressed keen interest in understanding the inner workings of these offices and how they integrate into the investigative process. The agent provided a concise overview of how these offices contribute to the overall investigative efforts.
     Throughout the presentation, the agent illustrated the investigative process through case studies, taking the audience through each stage, from initial alerts to arrests and trials. He delved into critical aspects such as evidence seizure, chain of custody, indicators of compromise, analysis, confirmation, collaboration with local and international entities, the mobilization of authorities, and the role of evidence in legal proceedings.
     The session also included a Q&A segment where students inquired about potential careers with the FBI. The agent offered valuable insights, highlighting the many career paths available and directing students to relevant job listings and resources, which can be accessed through this link:  This presentation not only provided students with a comprehensive understanding of the cybersecurity threat landscape but also offered them a glimpse of what to anticipate if they choose to pursue a career in cyber investigations.
     Following the presentation, students had the opportunity to engage in one-on-one discussions with the agent, further enhancing their insight into the world of cybersecurity and the FBI's role in combating cyber threats.

2023 August

-By Dr. J. Chisholm
     The Valencia CNET Cybersecurity Club presented a “security” workshop on Aug 2, 2023, for the international students accepted into the Cross-Cultural Initiative program held annually. This program provides a 2-semester program for international students so they can learn skills to take back to their own country. This workshop aimed to educate international students on “How to stay safe - digitally” in the United States.

Cybersecurity Club Events

Cyber Security Competitions

     Cybersecurity competitions, mostly in the form of CTFs (capture the flag), are becoming a necessity in cybersecurity training and career preparation. According to Forbes magazine, CTF competitions can help bridge the gaps in skill and interest in the field. By gamifying the experience, CTFs help make cybersecurity learning "fun and engaging".

National Cyber League (NCL)

     Since its inception in 2011, Valencia College has participated in the National Cyber League's (NCL) bi-annual competitions. These competitions occur in the Fall and Spring semesters. The number of Valencia College students competing at the NCL has increased from 16 players in 2013 to 61 players in the Fall of 2017. NCL competition scouting reports show Valencia students ranking among the top players in the nation!

     Unfortunately, due to the recent lock-down, Valencia College has not fielded an official team for the NCL for some time. However, individual students have still been competing and doing well.

National Cyber League (NCL)

Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CECCDC)

     Valencia's Cyber Defense team participated in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitions as a member of the southeast region. The Associate in Science program in Cybersecurity and Network Engineering Technology at Valencia College is the only two-year program in the state of Florida that continues to participate in the southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CECCDC). The CNET Cybersecurity Club at Valencia plays a major role in helping students (both in and out of the CNET program) train for the competitions. Valencia College has also created a cyber stadium for players to practice all year around for various Cyber Defense exercises. The CNET Cybersecurity Club members volunteer as CyberPatriot mentors for various high schools in the Orange and Osceola counties.
Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CECCDC)

PicoCTF (Carnegie Melon College)

     More recently, Valencia College has been participating in the PicoCTF challenges that Carnegie Melon College has been hosting. PicoCTF has been a great resource for our students. Not only do they have a competition yearly, they also have smaller competitions and an open gym where students can learn about CTFs and the skills that they will need to compete. Carnegie Melon has fostered an environment of learning, a philosophy of which that Valencia College shares.  

Our Students

Here is what some of our Cyber Defense Students have to say about their experiences with the competitions:

     "Because of the ethical hacking course, I had the honor to compete in the SECDCC. It was a great experience and also a motivation to continue and advance in cybersecurity. The competition helped get a better understanding of security and securing networks. This competition is a great way for students to get their feet wet in understanding basic security configurations and the importance of network security. It was also a very fun experience and taught the value of working as a team and helping others. I would definitely love to compete again if I had the opportunity and look forward to other cyber competitions in the future"

     "I have competed in the National Cyber League (NCL). This competition was a great learning addition because it drove students to research and to learn more about techniques and tools that can be used in the field of cyber security. The challenges consisted of capture-the-flag type questions which forced students to use critical thinking, reasoning, and go beyond traditional classroom learning. It provided real life hands-on exercises on cryptography, cybersecurity, forensics, ethical hacking, network analysis, and more. My experience with the NCL competition is that it was fun and helped me to develop my thinking and research abilities in the computer network and cybersecurity fields."

     "I have also competed in the South-Eastern Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (SECCDC). This competition was similar to an on-the-job experience that a classroom could not offer. It was a team exercise and the goal was to effectively harden servers as well as to complete job assignments and reports in a timely fashion while hackers were trying to penetrate the network and hack our systems. My experience with SECCDC helped me to realize the importance of cybersecurity today, and it also gave me the experience to work in teams with other people and to really take the job seriously"