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cyber security competition
cyber security competition
cyber security competition
From top: Cyber defense organizers, the red team and the champions,
Texas A&M University
videocam View a KABB TV story on CCDC (April 15, 2007)

UTSA hosts second cyber defense competition

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(April 23, 2007)--The UTSA Center for Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), a nationally recognized leader in cyber security education and research, hosted the second annual National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) April 13-15 at the Airport Hilton hotel. Texas A&M University and Millersville University of Pennsylvania took first- and second-place honors.

At the invitation of the Department of Homeland Security, the winning team will attend the March 2008 Cyber Storm II National Cyber Security Exercise in Washington, D.C.

"It was a great experience that was very professionally done," said Rusty Redden, Texas A&M team captain. "We felt good going into the final day of competition and were able to lock it down on Sunday."

The competition featured four eight-member teams that were scored on their ability to operate and maintain a business network while under hostile cyber attack.

The closing ceremony included an awards presentation and keynote address from Cheri McGuire, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Division. McGuire stressed the importance of universities educating the next generation of cyber security professionals to help defend the nation's critical network assets. She also noted that competitions such as CCDC give students a level of realism and experience necessary to complement their formal classroom education.

CCDC has grown from five participating schools in 2005 to 44 schools in 2007 and will add three regional competitions and another 30 participating schools in 2008. The 2007 national competition featured the nation's top collegiate cyber defense teams representing Texas A&M University, University of Louisville, Millersville University of Pennsylvania and Indiana Tech.

Participants advanced to the National CCDC after winning state and regional competitions against 44 teams in the Southwest, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.

National CCDC is the first cyber-defense competition allowing teams of college students from across the country to apply their information assurance and information technology knowledge in a competitive environment. The competitions focus uniquely on business operations and incorporate the operational aspect of managing and protecting an existing network infrastructure.

The teams are given an operational mock network from a fictitious business complete with e-mail, Web sites, data files and users. They are scored on their ability to correct problems on the network, perform typical business tasks and defend the networks from a red team that generates live, hostile activity. IT industry leaders donated hardware and software for the competition to provide students the opportunity to work with technologies they would never see in a typical classroom.

"The students at this event were phenomenal," said Dwayne Williams, National CCDC competition director. "I was incredibly impressed with their ability to respond to some very challenging tasks and circumstances under very tight time constraints."

National CCDC sponsors include:

For more information, visit the National CCDC Web site or contact CIAS at (210) 458-2118.

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Fact sheet: UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security

  • Established in 2001, CIAS leverages San Antonio's infrastructure assurance strengths and bolsters research and educational initiatives in the field. The multidisciplinary research center is a partnership between academia, the information technology security industry and the local Air Intelligence Agency. CIAS addresses the technical and policy issues of information assurance and security and provides educational training.
  • In 2002-03, UTSA's CIAS led the highly successful Dark Screen cyber terrorism exercise for the City of San Antonio, bringing national attention as the first city in the nation to conduct a cyber-security exercise.
  • Over the last three years, CIAS was awarded more than $5 million through DoD appropriations to support community cyber-security defend-and- attack exercises and infrastructure assurance and security research.
  • CIAS personnel have worked on infrastructure assurance and security issues for financial services, telecommunications, oil and gas communities, and the chemical sector in Houston, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Miami and Baltimore. CIAS is planning stages an exercise for the State of Texas this summer.
  • In February 2006, CIAS personnel participated in the Department of Homeland Security's CyberStorm National Cyber Security Exercise in Washington, D.C.
  • UTSA is the first Texas university with the national "Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education" designation by the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency. The designation means UTSA's curriculum and faculty meet or exceed national standards to teach information-assurance security.

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