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UF Cyber Defense Team Wins Second Place in Region Competition

After their performances in February qualified them to compete in the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (SECCDC) regional competition - their third time in three years - the University of Florida Student InfoSec Team (UF SIT) came home with a second place trophy. The competition took place in Kennesaw, Georgia on April 2 - 3.

Joseph N. Wilson, Ph.D. the faculty advisor for the InfoSec Team, and an associate professor at the Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering, explained that preparation for the competition begins a few weeks before. Organizers provide students with a network diagram showing computers, their operating systems and services, documents describing a company’s organizational chart and business procedures, and IT policies.

When the students arrive on-site, they take over running businesses computing services using hardware provided by competition organizers. The students work for 10 hours on the first day, then four hours on the second day. Their goal - keep services operational, fend off attacks from malicious hackers, satisfy business requests, and address customer inquiries and complaints.

Overall, Wilson thought the team did a remarkable job. “They prepared incredibly well, I think their performance this year has motivated them to work even harder.”

The University of Central Florida won first place, beating out the UF team by one two-hundredth of a point.

Ben Simon, InfoSec’s CDCC chair, said, “While it was challenging, I believe that UF's team performed admirably during the competition, completing the assigned tasks whilst simultaneously securing systems and repelling attacks conducted by the red team.”

For the team the most exciting part of the competition was watching the red team try to infiltrate their systems and failing repeatedly. “Once we had our defenses set up, we felt really good,” Terry Thibault said. Scott Miller added, “The best part was knowing we were secure and that there was nothing red team could do to us. It made me jump with glee. Many times.”

The next SECCDC competition is expected to take place February 2019.