RU’s information security team of information technology students Carroll Wongchote, Joel Dominic, Jon Russo, Jeff Ali, Andy Rush, Thomas St. Clair, James Hunt, Eileen Hindmon, Daniel Lust, Austin DeVinney, and Gerald Ottman III and information technology faculty member David Daugherty are at the 2012 CyberWatch Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Regional Finals at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., from March 13 – 17, 2012.
During the virtual qualifying round on Feb. 21, the team competed against 25 schools representing undergraduate and graduate students from two- and four-year schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, becoming one of the top eight to qualify for the finals. The teams competed for three hours securing five machines and performing specified tasks. Because they knew the competition would be tough, RU’s team logged many hours of practice in the lab at RU.
The team was created in September of 2011 and consists of students in computer security courses taught by information technology faculty member Prem Uppuluri. The team began meeting for a weekly Tuesday practice and added Saturday practice as the competition neared. Uppuluri helped guide them during practices, which normally lasted for about an hour. But as the competition approached, the team trained as long as four hours at a time to increase their “computing stamina.”
“Dr. Uppuluri created a mock competition by providing us with virtual computers with security issues as well as providing us with tasks to complete in the four hours,” explains teammate and senior computer science major Wongchote.
The RU team will be competing against students from Capitol College (Maryland), Howard Community College (Maryland), James Madison University, Millersville University (Pennsylvania), Towson University (Maryland), University of Maryland Baltimore and West Virginia University.
The CyberWatch Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is one of 10 regional competitions, all part of the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The competition focuses on the operational aspects of managing and protecting an existing network infrastructure. The teams are physically co-located in the same building. Each team is given identical computer configurations to start the competition. Throughout the competition, the teams have to ensure the systems supply specified services while under attack from a volunteer Red Team. In addition, the teams have to satisfy periodic “injects” that simulate business activities information technology staff must deal with in the real world.
Most of the RU team members are seniors, eight out of the 11 members will be graduating in May with a computer science degree. They will also be graduating with cyber security skills -- skills that are in high demand in the workforce. - JF