Learn & Prepare

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Training Materials

Training Material Overview


Cisco Training Materials and Networking Academy Enrollment will be available in September. 

Each competition round has two challenges for which teams will need to train.

  • Network Security Challenge (Operating System Images)
  • Cisco Networking Challenge (Quiz and Packet Tracer)

Panorama of competition image and PT.jpg

Network Security Challenge (Images)

The main goal of every round of competition is to improve the security of one or more virtual machine images. In the past, teams have been tasked with:

  • Maintaining and hardening critical services
  • Fixing vulnerabilities
  • Removing malware from the systems
  • Answering forensics questions

In the past, CyberPatriot has used these images during the online rounds:

  • Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 
  • Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2016
  • Ubuntu 14, Ubuntu 16, Debian 7

Teams do not need to have any of these specific operating systems installed directly on their computers. Rather, these images are played using VMware Player software. More information on the technical requirements for using this free software can be found on the Technical Specifications page.
Training for the competition, in addition to the training materials, is provided in three UNSCORED rounds:

  • Exhibition Round(s) – Unscored images for Recruiting and Training 
  • Training Round – Answer keys provided with images for guided training
  • Practice Round – Unscored images for team practice

For help playing a virtual machine image and starting a round, please view this instructional video: https://youtu.be/4UveDN7xn9I

Cisco Networking Challenge (Quiz and Packet Tracer Exercise)Teams access the Cisco Networking Challenge through the Networking Academy website at www.netacad.com.  Teams will use two maincourses:

  • Content Course (Training)
  • Competition Course (Competition Round Quiz and Packet Tracer Exercise)

All Quizzes and Packet Tracer exercises will be based on assigned training materials in the Content Course. Packet Tracer is a network simulator in which the students create virtual networks.  The content (Training) course is normally available in September of the competition season.
Teams start with basic networking and security concepts and more advanced concepts are added as teams progress in the competition training. In previous seasons, teams have been given networking challenges, such as:

  • Virtual Network Configuration 
  • Subnetting and IP Addressing 
  • Wireless Routing

The training pages in the menu to the left are intended to provide teams with basic cybersecurity knowledge. However, it is not an exhaustive list and may be insufficient for the more challenging rounds of competition. After reviewing these materials, teams should delve deeper into each of the presented topics and look to their Coaches and Mentors for further training. If you have a link that you think would be helpful for training , please send us an email at  [email protected].  

Training Material Resources


Video Series

                                        Cisco Video Series                                       Windows Video Series

How can I prepare?

Training materials are available through the volunteer dashboard and through Cisco Networking Academy on the AFA CyberPatriot website.  Instructions for competition round preparation are emailed directly to coaches prior to each round.

  • For a general overview of how to prepare for a round, click here
  • For an in-depth explanation of how the competition works, click here
  • For a full list of competition hardware and software requirements, click here
  • For the full competition rules book, click here