Southeast Cyber Defense Team Prepares to Defend Missouri Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Title


Cybersecurity students on Southeast Missouri State University’s Cyber Defense Team will compete against teams from across the state March 3 in the Missouri Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

The students are among 10 teams from Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana vying for a spot in the 2018 Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Qualification Competition March 23 in Chicago, Illinois. State champions will be awarded for each state. Southeast has won the state title the past five years.

To earn their spot, the Southeast team will have to best the field of Missouri teams in tomorrow’s half-day virtual competition, protecting a virtual company’s servers hosting emails, websites and essential networks from active virtual attack. While these attacks are occurring, the team will also have to maintain the company’s day-to-day information technology (IT) tasks and responsibilities.

“It’s a virtual trench fight throughout the competition,” said Dr. Vijay Anand, director of Southeast’s cybersecurity program, faculty advisor to the Cyber Defense Team and associate professor of computer science. “They’ve spent a lot of work outside of the classroom learning, practicing for this moment.”

The team has spent nearly 200 hours this year preparing, said Lucas Kossack, the team’s captain. That time is important for the students to develop their skills individually and to flourish as a cohesive team.

“I’m confident about our team in this year’s competition. I know we’re ready,” he said.

Southeast students competing are 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.