Photo courtesy www.midatlanticccdc.org
This weekend, UMBC’s Cyber Defense club, the Cyberdawgs, will be one of eight schools vying for the win at the CyberWatch Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) Regional Finals. The competition, the first of its kind to focus on the operational aspects of protecting and managing an existing “commercial” network infrastructure, will take place at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab from March 14–18, according to the CCDC website.
“I always get excited for these types of competitions,” says Marc Warfield, president of the Cyberdawgs. A Junior Information Systems major, Warfield hopes to eventually pursue a career in software development with a focus in network and computer security. “I enjoy the field because it’s so dynamic and keeps everyone on their toes.”
In late February, Warfield and his teammates competed against twenty-five schools during a three-hour virtual qualifying round. “We had to secure five different virtual machines and complete tasks that they assigned us during the three hours of scoring,” he explains.
Now only eight schools from the region are left; among them Towson University, Capitol College, and Howard County Community College. Warfield and seven of his teammates will represent UMBC. “We sadly didn’t make it to regionals last year, so it feels good to make it there this year,” he says. “I’m excited to meet people that are already working in the field and considered to be “rockstars” in the computer security discipline.”
Conceived in 2006, the CCDC is funded by CyberWatch, an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center. Since then, the center’s mission has been to “improve the quantity and quality of the nation’s information assurance (IA) workforce,” says the website.This year, the competition’s theme is “Healthcare IT.” During the competition, the teams must “ensure the systems supply the specified services while under attack from a volunteer Red Team" and “satisfy periodic “injects” that simulate business activities IT staff must deal with in the real world.”
Warfield explains that his preparation strategy includes “Redbull and long weekend nights.” “We practice securing machines and setting up web applications along with learning to configure them,” he says.
This year’s CCDC is the first to include a Speaker Symposium that’s free and open to the public. Kicking off Wednesday morning, the symposium features founder and CEO of Oculis Labs, Bill Anderson with a speech entitled “Causes of Data Breaches in Healthcare? Just Look Around,” and Larry Pesce and Darren Wigley, members of the PaulDotCom Security Weekly podcast, whose presentation is called “MEDIC! Building and Rules of the 2012 Badges.”
If Warfield and his teammates place in the competition this weekend, they will make it to the National competition which will take place in San Antonio, Texas in mid-April. Schools currently slated to compete in the Nationals include the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Air Force Academy, UNC Charlotte, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Texas A&M University.