contest champs
Winner of National CCDC competition: Baker College

National cyber defense contest champs announced

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(April 25, 2008)--Baker College of Flint, Mich., Texas A&M University and the University of Louisville took first, second and third place honors in the third annual National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) held April 18-20 at the Airport Hilton hotel in San Antonio. The winning team was invited by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to attend the March 2010 Cyber Storm III National Cyber Security Exercise in Washington, D.C.

>> View April 19 video clips of the National CCDC by UTSA Distance Learning and Academic Technology, KSAT-TV and KABB-TV.

"We've competed in these collegiate cyber defense competitions for the last three years and have never made it past the regional level," said Brandon Hladysh, Baker College team captain. "I'm really proud of my teammates and they truly are the best of the best."

Closing ceremonies included an awards presentation and keynote address from Cornelius Tate, the newly appointed director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division (NCSD). According to Tate, NCSD's primary focus is working on preventing a cyber version of 9/11 by ensuring that all systems of either a federal or critical infrastructure nature are being protected appropriately. The goal is to be prepared to be fully functional during a malicious attack, natural disaster or other catastrophic incident.

The competition was hosted by The University of Texas at San Antonio's Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), a nationally recognized leader in cyber security education and research. The contest featured six eight-member teams that were scored on their ability to operate and maintain a business network while under hostile cyber attack.

The CCDC program has grown from five participating schools in 2005 to 56 schools in 2008 with six regional competitions. The 2008 national competition featured Baker College of Flint, Mich., Texas A&M University, University of Louisville, Rochester Institute of Technology, Community College of Baltimore County and Mt. San Antonio College of Los Angeles County. The participants advanced to the National CCDC after winning regional competitions against opposing teams in the Southwest, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and West Coast regions.

The CCDC program is the first cyber defense competition allowing teams of full-time college students from across the country to apply their information assurance and information technology education in a competitive environment. CCDC competitions are unique because of the focus on business operations and incorporation of the operational aspect of managing and protecting an existing network infrastructure. The teams inherited an "operational" network from a fictional business complete with e-mail, Web sites, data files and users.

Each team was required to correct problems on their network, perform typical business tasks, and defend their networks from a red team that generated live, hostile activity throughout the competition. The teams were scored on performance in the three areas.

The CCDC program is sponsored in part through donations from leading businesses in the communications and information technology industries. Donated hardware and software from leaders in the IT industry were used during the competition enabled students to work with technologies they would never see in a typical classroom.

"For the first time ever, we had two, two-year colleges win their region and compete, so it was exciting to see them competing right along against the other four-year universities," said Gregory White, director of UTSA's CIAS. "We've had three competitions with winners representing three different regions, so it's good to see that there are bright, sharp, computer security-savvy individuals all over this country."

The National CCDC is being sponsored in part through donations and volunteer support from the AT&T Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, Cisco Systems, Acronis, Northrop Grumman, Accenture, Information Systems Security Association, Core Security, G-C Partners, SecureLogix, ThinkGeek, Code Magazine and Pepsi.

For more information, visit the National CCDC Web site or contact CIAS at (210) 458-2118.

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