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SSC Rallied Cyber Experts at 3rd Annual Virtual Cyber Expo

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Locke
Cyber threats to connected space systems, devices, and peripherals and effective ways of addressing those threats was the focus of Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Virtual Cyber Expo Nov 16-17.

SSC Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein and SSC/S6/CIO Col. Albert Olagbemiro kicked off the two-day event, now in its third year, and welcomed presenters including Lauren Knausenberger, U.S. Air Force CIO, and Peter Newton, Fortinet’s Senior Director of Products and Solutions. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from cyber experts from military and civilian U.S. government, the space industry and commercial sector, and academic institutions who led cyber-related discussions ranging from intelligence support in the fields of space acquisitions and Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) to implications of remote work and collaboration capabilities.

Additionally, insights about the upcoming Hack-A-Sat 2 final virtual competition set for Dec. 11 were shared by Capt. Elijha Williams, SSC Product Owner and Hack-A-Sat program lead, and Capt. Charles Bolen, SSC Space Experimentation lead. Hack-A-Sat is sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory and SSC. [For more on Hack-A-Sat 2, visit]

During the “If You Connect It, Protect It”- themed expo, virtual participants were able to submit comments and questions via integrated chat for near real-time discussion and networking.

A Capture-the-Flag competition, one of the Expo’s annual highlights, challenged participants to solve a variety of cyber security challenges about network forensics, algorithm programming, code analysis, cryptography, analytics, penetration testing, malware analysis, and reverse engineering. A Jeopardy-like scoreboard with point values based on the difficulty of the questions was used to determine the winner: 2nd Lt Stephen Gioja, a member of SSC’s Development Corps.

Why a Cyber Expo?

“SSC’s S6/CIO is focused on ensuring cyber and cybersecurity readiness and innovative mindsets,” said Expo organizer Lucky Nguyen, a security and cyber technology specialist, and Cyber Support Operations Center (CSOC) analyst within SSC’s Space Systems Architect organization. “Bringing together experienced subject matter experts to share knowledge, trends, and strategies, boosts cyber and cybersecurity skill-sets, knowledge, competencies, and awareness that ultimately enhances SSC’s cyber mission and focus areas.”

In addition to organizing the event, Nguyen also moderated the Expo panel, “Intelligence Support to Space Acquisitions and Supply Chain Risk Management,” which provided insights on how intelligence plays a role in the cyber, acquisitions, and space environments – all critical to SSC’s role in protecting the U.S. and its allied partners from threats in the contested space domain.

“The Cyber Expo is also an opportunity for participants to develop and enhance their cyber skills and possibly showcase them for Hack-A-Sat 2, where they will be challenged with simulating hacking a satellite,” said Nguyen.

“As we push ourselves to the limits and test our cyber competencies in simulated environments, we ready the current and future workforce for real-world operational missions and challenges,” he said. “The Cyber Expo’s Capture-the-Flag and Hack-A-Sat events are fantastic ways to encourage space and cyber professionals to collaborate, troubleshoot, test, explore and move toward a more digitized and capable workforce focused on space and cyber dominance.”

Along with Lucky Nguyen, Expo organizers also included 2nd Lt. Franchette Brosoto and Benjamin Harbaugh, both from SSC’s Space Systems Architect Corps  
Note: For those who missed the SSC Virtual Cyber Expo 2021, click here for post-event access. Once you register and enter the Expo conference lobby, navigate to the upper menu and click the On Demand link to review the presentations and slides.