CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 30, 2016 – The Cybersecurity Team at Southeast Missouri State University has advanced to the Midwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition April 1-2 at Moraine Valley Community College in Chicago, Illinois, after taking first place March 12 at the 2016 Midwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Qualification Competition (CCDQC).
The Southeast team will compete against 10 teams this weekend. The winner of the Midwest Regional CCDC will move on to what is being billed as “The Big Dance of Data Defense,” the 2016 National CCDC April 22-24 in San Antonio, Texas.
At the CCDQC, eight Southeast students participated in the all-day virtual competition, besting a field that included the University of Central Missouri (forfeited), North Iowa Area Community College, Madison Area Technical College and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Southeast students competing were Alex Clinton of Sidney, Ohio; James Eilers of O’Fallon, Missouri; Jonathan Snow of Florissant, Missouri; Lucas Kossack of Grantsburg, Illinois; JoLynn Hallmark of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Zachary Peek of Aviston, Illinois; Thomas DePriest of St. Louis, Missouri; and Tusita Gunaratne of Negombo, Sri Lanka. Alternates were Jonathan Fulling of Bloomington, Illinois; and William Reed of Festus, Missouri.
Dr. Vijay Anand, director of Southeast’s cybersecurity program, faculty advisor to Southeast’s cybersecurity team and assistant professor of polytechnic studies, said he is proud of his students’ accomplishments.
“It reflects on the quality of the program and the commitment of our students to excel,” he said. “Although our team had a large turnover from last year, the older members made sure our quality was still good before the competition by involving them in rigorous practice.”
Students began preparing for the competition last fall when the Cyber Defense Competition (CDC) student organization selected team members. Once the team was in place, students began identifying different skills to master based on the challenges they faced from previous years of competition.
The students have practiced over the past few months in the cybersecurity research lab in the Otto and Della Seabaugh Polytechnic Building where a server hosts multiple virtual machines.
Students who competed at previous CCDC competitions acted as perpetrators during practices.
The competitions are designed to provide a controlled competitive environment to assess students’ depth of understanding and operational competency in managing the challenges inherent in protecting an enterprise network infrastructure and business information systems.
The Midwest CCDQC assessed the student teams’ ability to secure a networked computer system while maintaining standard business functionality. Scenarios in which students competed involved team members simulating a group of employees from an Information Technology (IT) company that initiated 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, a web site, a secure web site, an email server, a database server, an online curriculum server, and workstations used by simulated sales, marketing and research staff according to the policy and mission of the company. Each team started the competition with identically configured systems.
The team was tested on its ability to maintain secure computer network operations in a simulated business environment. Teams were scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, including cyber attack while maintaining availability of existing network services such as a mail server and web servers, respond to business reports such as adding or removing additional services, and balancing security with various business needs.