Ensign Darren Espree, a former member of the Media and Malware Analysis team at Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC), was recently honored with the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Technology Innovation Award at the Double Tree Hotel.Espree was nominated for the award based on his performance at a pilot internship with cybersecurity firm Telos as part of the National Defense University’s MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator.

“Espree joined three other Sailors, a lieutenant junior grade and two enlisted, from Hawaii for 12 weeks where they were trained in some business-related concepts, introduced to Navy funded technology that had yet to be implemented, and “competed” with other interns representing various universities to develop cybersecurity solutions for government use,” said Randy Rose, Intel Department (N2) Deputy Department Head.

Espree, then an enlisted second class, developed a method to collect and aggregate data across computer networks, and analyze the end results using a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that he developed himself. To prove the value of the product, he then developed a custom malware that allowed him to control a boat propeller from his phone.

Prior to the implementation of his security solution, the attack was completely undetected by a suite of traditional network security software with up-to-date signatures. Once installed and monitoring, his security suite detected all malicious actions in real-time.

“As a Sailor, I was taught that solutions don’t fall out of the sky,” said Espree. “They are made through hard work and determination. Our goal was to create something that could protect our Navy from cyber-attacks. My training as a cryptologic technician (networks) gave me a solid foundation from which to attack each challenge methodically with clear goals and expectations. Throughout the internship, we had nine failures for every one success. Yet, we refused to give up. In the end, our solution reaffirmed an old saying by Charles Ketterling: It doesn’t matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again.”

Espree was announced as a winner on May 23, 2017. However, due to being accepted into Officer Candidate School (OCS), Espree was physically unable to accept the award from AFCEA until December.

For more information on the Telos Internship, please visit: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=97280

NCDOC’s mission is to execute defensive cyberspace operations and enable global power projection through proactive network defense and reports operationally to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.

U.S. Fleet Cyber Command serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command, and the Navy’s Service Cryptologic Component commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. Fleet Cyber Command also reports directly to the Chief of Naval Operations as an Echelon II command.

U.S. 10th Fleet is the operational arm of Fleet Cyber Command and executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders. In this role, C10F provides operational direction through its Maritime Operations Center located at Fort George Meade Md., executing command and control over assigned forces in support of Navy or joint missions in cyber/networks, electronic warfare, cryptologic/signals intelligence and space.

For more news and information from Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command / U.S. 10th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/FCCC10F/ and follow us on Twitter @USLEETCYBERCOM.

By CTN2 Kenneth Schwab, NCDOC Public Affairs y CTN2 Kenneth Schwab, NCDOC Public Affairs