NSA Hawaiʻi officials visit UH West Oʻahu Cyber Security Coordination Center

A group of five students standing in front of four wall-mounted monitors at the Cyber Security Coordination Center.

UH West O’ahu Cyber Security Coordination Center student interns (from left) Warren Domingo, Guy Nguyen-Phuoc, Jarren Buendia, Edgar Namoca, and Brandon Chun at the CSCC.

The University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu Cyber Security Coordination Center hosted leadership from the National Security Agency Hawaiʻi on Feb. 5 in a continued strengthening of the partnership between the university and intelligence organization.

NSA Hawaiʻi officials were invited to the CSCC to attend a weekly update, featuring presentations by the center’s five student interns: Global Cyber Analyst Jarren Buendia, Cyber Vulnerabilities Analyst Warren Domingo, Cybersecurity Best Practices Analyst Guy Nguyen-Phuoc, Digital Forensics Analyst Brandon Chun and Cybersecurity of Industrial Control Systems Analyst Edgar Namoca.

Attendees included NSA Hawaiʻiʻs Acting Deputy Director and Technical Director, Cybersecurity; Associate Intelligence Analysis Authority, Workforce Development; Technical Director, Discovery; Technical Director, Operations; Technical Director, Analytics & Tradecraft; Technical Director, Operations and Applied Research Mathematician; and Training Program Manager, Operations and Senior Enlisted Leader of Operations Staff.

“The Cybersecurity Program within the Business Division at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu has built a strong relationship with NSA Hawaiʻi, since the program earned designation by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in 2016,” said Dr. Matthew A. Chapman, UH West Oʻahu Professor of Computer Science and Cybersecurity and head of the campusʻ cybersecurity program.

Dr. Matthew A. Chapman

Dr. Matthew A. Chapman

Both NSA Hawaiʻi and UH West Oʻahu have a shared goal to grow the cyber workforce in Hawaiʻi to protect our state and national interests, specifically the protection of our critical infrastructure, Chapman said.

“This partnership benefits our students with summer internships, our graduates with jobs, and our state with a local, highly technical, cybersecurity workforce that best understands our unique culture and the unique cybersecurity challenges in Hawaiʻi, said Chapman, adding that these students twice won the National Championship (2016 and 2018) in the National Cyber League against both undergraduate and graduate students across the United States.

“Our partnership also benefits both military and civilian employees of NSA Hawaiʻi who enroll in our cybersecurity programs to complete their bachelor’s degree or complete individual courses to increase their technical and cyber skills,” he said.

Wednesday’s event started with an introduction to the cyber programs at UH West Oʻahu by Chapman, followed by the student briefings.

Presentations included “Potential Foreign Espionage: Saudi Arabia Against Jeff Bezos” by Buendia, “Remote Code Execution Vulnerability in Internet Explorer” by Domingo and “Managing Multiple Windows 10 Machines with Windows Admin Center” by Nguyen-Phuoc. Chunʻs “JhoneRAT Malware Targets Arabic-Speaking Countries” and Namocaʻs “Schneider Electric Programmable Logic Controller Vulnerabilities” rounded out the weekly update.

NSA Hawaiʻi officials complimented the students on their research and presentations, and also inquired about their “dream jobs” after finishing school.

“The purpose of the visit today is to continue to strengthen this mutually beneficial partnership between UH West Oʻahu and NSA Hawaiʻi,” Chapman said. “Over the past several years, numerous UH West Oʻahu students have completed summer internships with the NSA Hawaiʻi, and an even greater number have been hired after graduation to work here at home or in other NSA facilities globally.”

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff