Gary Black, Service Department Manager at JR-Tech, was instrumental in helping college students compete in the annual Western Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.  This year was another huge success in preparing IT professionals to enter the market! “Helping to give college students real world scenarios that SMB’s face is fantastic preparation for them as they leave college and enter the business world.” Says Gary.  “Each day we read about companies suffering loss of reputation and costly fines, because they think it can’t happen to them. We teach students to have a ‘healthy paranoia’ as complacency is the biggest enemy when it comes to security. It’s rewarding knowing these students will go out and contribute to defeating real hackers and cybercriminals by protecting businesses.”

To combat the rise in cybercrime, colleges are offering courses in advanced IT defense.  The National “Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition” where ten regional competitions around the country send their area champions to compete for a national prize.  The mission of the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) is to provide a controlled, competitive environment to assess a student’s depth of understanding and operational competency in managing the challenges inherent in protecting business information systems.

Small and medium businesses (SMB) are under cyber-attack from hackers and cybercriminals.  While large companies get the headlines, over 60 percent of cyber-attacks are directed toward SMB’s.

Student teams are asked to assume administrative and protective duties for an existing “commercial” network for a small company with 50+ users, 7 to 10 servers, and common Internet services such as a web server, a mail server, and an e-commerce site. Each team begins the competition with an identical set of hardware and software for their fictitious business and are scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain availability of existing services such as mail servers and web servers, respond to business requests such as the addition or removal of additional services, and balance security needs against business needs.

Throughout the competition an automated scoring engine is used to verify the functionality and availability of each team’s services on a periodic basis while traffic generators continuously feed simulated user traffic into the competition network. A volunteer red team provides advanced and persistent “external threat” that all Internet-based services face and allows the teams to match their defensive skills against live opponents.

For more information about the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, please feel free to visit the sites below:

http://www.wrccdc.org/

http://www.nationalccdc.org