Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

Grooming future cyber defenders

In mid-March I spoke at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) held on the 400 acre campus of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md. I can’t remember when I enjoyed speaking at a conference so much.The competition pitted collegiate defenders against would-be attackers and focused on the operational aspects of managing and protecting computer systems. This year’s scenario was cast in a health care setting.

About 25 colleges competed to qualify with schools from Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and West Virginia. Winners moved on to the face-to-face regional finals that took place in mid-March. The event drew close to 1,000 participants and guests with twenty-plus sponsors from private industry and government organizations such as the  Homeland Security Department and National Science Foundation. Towson University won the regional competition and will now proceed to the national competition.  This year’s National CCDC will be held April 20-22 at the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

The CCDC competitions were created to provide educational institutions with computer security and related curriculum an objective, competitive environment that places students in a real-world scenario to assess the student's understanding and operational competency in managing the challenges inherent in cybersecurity. During the event the student defenders must respond to a volunteer red team acting as the external threat. This challenges the students’ defensive skills in a dynamic setting against live opponents. These competitions are great educational experiences for all involved and rewarding experiences for guests and sponsors alike. After all, these students are our future cyber defenders.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Mar 22, 2012 at 9:26 PM

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