The University of Washington took first place at the 6th National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) held this past weekend in San Antonio, Texas.
The NCCDC pits teams of full-time college students from across the country against each other in an environment where cyber security skills are pushed to the limit. Some very strong opposition came from Texas A&M University and the University of Louisville who took second and third place honors during the competition. “This competition gets better every year,” said Dwayne Williams, Director of the 2011 National CCDC. “We challenge them to find that balance between fending off cyber attacks and supporting business operations – exactly what cyber security professionals have to do every day. Each year the competitors seem more focused and better prepared for whatever we throw at them. There are some very talented teams from across the country at these CCDC events.”
Hosted by The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), the competition featured nine teams that were scored on their ability to operate and maintain a business network while under hostile cyber attack. 109 schools participated in CCDC qualifying and regional events nationwide. The 2011 national competition featured nine regional winners: California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, Indiana Tech, Rochester Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, United States Air Force Academy, University of Louisville, University of Maryland, University of Washington, and University of Wyoming. The participants advanced to the National CCDC after winning their state and regional competitions.
CCDC competitions try to focus on business operations and incorporate 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 their performance in those three areas and the team with the highest score at the end of the competition was crowned the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Champion.
CCDC 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 was used during the competition to provide students with the opportunity to work with technologies they would not likely see in a typical classroom environment.