The team now advances to the Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Qualification Competition March 17-18 at Moraine Valley Community College in Chicago.
Eleven Southeast students participated in the all-day virtual combined competition that brought together 11 teams from Missouri, Illinois and Iowa. State champions were awarded for each state with Southeast besting the field of Missouri teams that included Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) in Rolla, Missouri.
Southeast students competing were Jasmeet Kukreja of New Delhi, India; Joshua Fairchild of Potosi, Missouri; Joe Niswonger of Cape Girardeau; Mackenzie Bonneville of Mapleton, Illinois; Lucas Kossack of Grantsburg, Illinois; Bryton Herdes of Xenia, Illinois; Steve Esswein of St. Louis, Missouri; and Jonathan Fulling of Bloomington, Illinois. Alternates were Michael Maune of Villa Ridge, Missouri; Brandon Hathaway of Eureka, Missouri; and Ben Shell of Marble Hill, Missouri.
“I think the students did very well in context of the tough competition from MST-Rolla. I am very proud of them,” said Dr. Vijay Anand, director of Southeast’s cybersecurity program, faculty advisor to Southeast’s cybersecurity team and assistant professor of computer science. “This is the fifth year we have won the competition for the state of Missouri, so it reflects on the culture of excellence that is embedded within the cybersecurity program here at Southeast.”
The competition assessed the students’ ability to defend a mock production business infrastructure from professional “hackers” who presented challenges to take their production systems offline and breach their security. The students worked to prevent hackers while also handling network enhancements and upgrade challenges. The competition focused on the operational aspect of managing and protecting an existing “commercial” network infrastructure while testing their ability to operate, secure, manage and maintain a corporate network. The competition was designed to create a realistic corporate administration and security experience.
Southeast has three weeks to prepare for the Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which involves college teams from 12 states. Southeast’s Cyber Defense Team is looking for a first place finish after placing second in 2016, third in 2015 and second in 2014 at this event.