Cyberdefense Teams Compete for National Title

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<strong>San Antonio</strong><br />Texas A&M University looks to defend its National Champions title against five teams when the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) takes place April 18-20 at the Hilton San Antonio Airport Hotel. The third annual NCCDC is being hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio&#39;s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS), a nationally recognized leader in cybersecurity education and research.<br /><br />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 features the 2007 defending champions, Texas A&M University, along with Baker College of Flint, Mich., the Community College of Baltimore County, Mt. San Antonio College of Los Angeles County, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Louisville. 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.<br /><br />The CCDC program is sponsored in part through donations from leading businesses in the communications and information technology industries. <br /><br />"AT&T has always put an emphasis on technology and education," said AT&T Western Region President John T. Montford. "We are proud to support the NCCDC&#39;s competition that encourages students to find new and innovative ideas that benefit companies like AT&T and partner with UTSA to work toward an ever-advancing field of network security." <br /><br />The CCDC program is the first cyberdefense competition allowing teams of full-time collegiate students from across the country to apply their information assurance and information technology education in a competitive environment. While similar to other cyberdefense 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 will inherit an "operational" network from a fictional business complete with e-mail, Web sites, data files and users. <br /><br />"We had many visiting faculty members benefit from last year&#39;s national competition as they experienced firsthand what it would be like to have to protect a company&#39;s infrastructure in a hostile Internet environment," said Greg White, director of UTSA&#39;s CIAS. "Some of the faculty even changed their instructional programs as a result of lessons learned from the competition." <br /><br />Each team will be required to correct problems on its network, perform typical business tasks and defend its network from a red team that generates live, hostile activity throughout the competition. The teams will be scored on their performance in those three areas, and the team with the highest score at the end of the competition will be the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Champion.<br /><br />"Acronis is proud to once again be sponsoring such an important event," said Stephen Lawton, Acronis&#39; senior director of strategic marketing. "Tomorrow&#39;s IT leaders need to understand not only networking&#39;s best practices, but also be able to take emerging technologies and create new best practices. These are among the best and the brightest up-and-coming network administrators in the country. While Acronis is expert at restoring failed systems, these are the administrators who must be expert at disaster prevention."<br /><br />Donated hardware and software from leaders in the IT industry is used during the competition to provide students with the opportunity to work with technologies they would never see in a typical classroom environment. <br /><br />"Up-and-coming network administrators and IT leaders are expanding their level of expertise and awareness at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Core Security Technologies is proud to sponsor an event that helps prepare the students for what they will experience beyond the typical classroom setting, helping them reach their full potential," said Mike Yafee of Core Security.<br /><br />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 (, ThinkGeek (, Code Magazine ( and Pepsi ( <br />

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