Southeast Cyber Defense Team Wins Multi-State Competition, 6th Straight State Title


For the sixth straight year, the Southeast Missouri State University Cyber Defense Team won the Missouri Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) March 3.

Eleven Southeast students participated in the all-day virtual combined competition that brought together teams from Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. Southeast won top honors in the multi-state competition as well as the state championship after beating out the Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) in Rolla, Missouri for the Missouri title.

The team now advances to the Midwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, also known as the Erich J. Spenger Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, March 23-24 at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois.

Southeast students competing were Lucas Kossack of Grantsburg, Illinois; Jonathan Fulling of Bloomington, Illinois; Mackenzie Bonneville of Mapleton, Illinois; Bryton Herdes of Xenia, Illinois; Ben Shell of Marble, Hill, Missouri; Jonathan “Jonny” Johnson of Rolla, Missouri; Ethan Gyori of Eureka, Missouri; and Adam Elfrink of Jackson, Missouri; The team’s alternates are Drake Fisher of Carbondale, Illinois; Andrew Banning of Salem, Illinois; Scott St. John of Wildwood, Missouri; and Stephanie Graessle of Ballwin, Missouri.

“The students did an amazing job,” said said Dr. Vijay Anand, director of Southeast’s cybersecurity program, faculty advisor to Southeast’s Cyber Defense team and associate professor of computer science.  “Their commitment to the cause and their diligence to accomplish the cause by honing their skills with practices beyond the classroom is noteworthy and commendable. I am very proud of the team, and I do think they are one of the best.

“We have competed in the Missouri CCDC for the last six six years and have won it every time,” he continued. We have accomplished it with different teams, and we have strung together the wins. This speaks to the the quality and excellence of our program that provides a process and framework to accomplish such a feat.”

The competition was designed to test each student team’s ability to secure a networked computer system while maintaining standard business functionality. The scenario involved team members simulating a group of employees from an Information Technology (IT) service company initiating administration of an IT infrastructure. The teams were expected to manage the computer network, keep it operational and prevent unauthorized access. Each team was expected to maintain and provide public services, including a website, a secure website, an email server, a database server, an online curriculum server and workstations used by simulated sales, marketing and research staff according to the company’s policy and mission. Each team started the competition with a set of identically configured systems.

Southeast now has two and a half weeks to prepare for the Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which involves college teams from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and another wild card team. 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.