Collegiate cyber defense champs crowned

SAN ANTONIO, TX "We've competed in these collegiate cyber defense competitions for the last three years and have never made it passed the regional level," said Brandon Hladysh, Baker College team captain. "I'm really proud of my teammates and they truly are the best of the best." Closing ceremonies included an awards presentation and keynote address from Cornelius Tate, the newly appointed director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division (NCSD). According to Tate, NCSD's primary focus is working on preventing a cyber version of 9/11 by ensuring that all systems of either a federal or critical infrastructure nature, are being protected appropriately. Tate does not want to see a situation arise in which they are not able to operate due to a malicious attack, natural disaster or other incident that is of a catastrophic nature. The competition, hosted by The University of Texas at San Antonio's Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), a nationally recognized leader in cyber security education and research, featured six eight-member teams that were scored on their ability to operate and maintain a business network while under hostile cyber attack. The CCDC program has grown from five participating schools in 2005 to 56 schools in 2008 with six regional competitions taking place nationwide. The 2008 national competition featured Baker College of Flint, Michigan, Texas A&M University, University of Louisville, Rochester Institute of Technology, the Community College of Baltimore County and Mt. San Antonio College of Los Angeles County. The participants advanced to the National CCDC after winning regional competitions against opposing teams in the Southwest, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and West Coast Regions.

The CCDC program is the first cyber defense competition allowing teams of full-time college students from across the country to apply their information assurance and information technology education in a competitive environment. While similar to other cyber defense competitions, CCDC competitions are unique because they focus on business operations and incorporate the operational aspect of managing and protecting an existing network infrastructure. The teams inherited an "operational" network from a fictional business complete with e-mail, Web sites, data files, and users.

Each team was required to correct problems on their network, perform typical business tasks, and defend their networks from a red team that generated live, hostile activity throughout the competition. The teams were scored on their performance in those three areas and the team with the highest score at the end of the competition, Baker College, was crowned the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Champion.

The CCDC program is sponsored in part through donations from leading businesses in the communications and information technology industries. Donated hardware and software from leaders in the IT industry was used during the competition to provide students with the opportunity to work with technologies they would never see in a typical classroom environment.

"For the first time ever, we had two, two-year colleges win their region and compete, so it was exciting to see them competing right along against the other four-year universities," said Gregory White, director of UTSA's CIAS. "We've had three competitions with winners representing three different regions, so it's good to see that there's bright, sharp, computer security savvy individuals all over this country."

The National CCDC is being sponsored in part through donations and volunteer support from the AT&T Foundation (, Department of Homeland Security (, Cisco Systems (, Acronis (, Northrop Grumman (, Accenture (, the Information Systems Security Association (, Core Security (, G-C Partners (, SecureLogix (, ThinkGeek (, Code Magazine (, and Pepsi (

For more information please visit or contact the CIAS at 210-458-2118 or via email at

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