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Hughesville native discovers threat during cyber security challenge

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman third class, sophomore, Kade Heckel, ’19, of Hughesville, discovered a new vulnerability in a 3D printer during a cybersecurity challenge held in Brooklyn, N.Y., in September.

The cyber challenge, HACKtheMACHINE, was held aboard New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It is a Navy-hosted event and encourages civilians and military from a variety of different backgrounds to come together to help solve current cyber and technological challenges.

Heckel’s discovery is expected to be used onboard ships and will have real-world impact for the fleet. He is a computer science and computer engineering double major at the academy and intends to continue his work in the field upon graduation.

“I am currently pursuing a commission in the Navy as a cryptologic warfare officer where I will work to defend American interests in cyberspace,” Heckel said. “I hope to continue to research artificial intelligence and continue developing the technologies of tomorrow.”

HACKtheMACHINE aims to engage small businesses, startups and individuals in the tech field to develop solutions for the challenges posed by different sponsors. The event focuses on three obstacles including a maritime electronics capture the flag event, a data science challenge and 3D printing.

The objective is to engage non-traditional small businesses, start-ups and individuals in tech hubs and to develop insights into the challenges posed by each track sponsor.

Depending on the insights gained, they are turned into prototypes, developmental requirements/standards or transition to a program office for incorporation into future development cycles.

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