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5th Annual Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC)

January 13th, 2009 by tamuwebmaster

This year Texas A&M will be hosting the CCDC in Rudder Tower March 6-8, 2009. I know from my own experience that the the students who compete are some of the best students to enter the industry because of the knowledge they gain in this competition.

I was a Linux Team Leader as a student at UTSA for the very first CCDC competition. I still have several friends who compete in this competition and it is a great way for IT and CS students to learn about the dark side of computer networks and programming. Too often students go through school not knowing the dangers lurking on the networks and websites that they will soon be working on.

The competition is not just about defending the network, but also about handling typical business requests during the defense. Some of the hardest challenges we faced as a team in the first competition were the business requests handed to us by the White Team. They would request that new mail accounts be created, or they would ask for access to a SQL server. As soon as those services were opened up they were attacked by the Red Team. If we weren’t prepared our services would be compromised or we would not get the tasks completed in time to get points for them.

Only teams who can establish an effective method of handling these requests truly come out as winners in this competition. The same is true in the real world! Some of the other “requests” that came from the White team were related to redundancy and failover – they would come in and say “your firewall machine has failed” and would literally take the machine away. We had 10 minutes to get another firewall machine in place or face point deductions or worse – a security compromise! Honestly, we didn’t have the processes in place to handle these scenarios and it burned us (the UTSA team). But, I know for a fact that every student on that team now values redundancy on the network and servers that run our applications and access!

This competition is important to raising security awareness, so please support the students and teams willing to compete and put their skills on the line against some of the best hackers around. More information can be found at the Texas A&M CCDC website, or at the National CCDC site hosted by the UTSA Center for Information Assurance and Security. Texas A&M’s also has a CIAS program to help students conduct research and learning about information security and assurance.

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Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 Area Events, Miscellaneous, Web Security
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