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Students compete in State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in Madison

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MADISON, Wis. — Collegiate cyber security teams across Wisconsin gathered in Madison Saturday for the state qualifiers of the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

The qualifier competition was hosted by Madison College at the school’s Traux campus.

Forty students participated in eight member teams hailing from five different Wisconsin colleges.

Student competitors were given mock business networks and tasked with defending those networks from 8 hours of simulated hacks.

The hacks were orchestrated by a team of cyber security professionals whose strategies were based on real world events.

Network security instructor Mike Masino said, it was important to make the experience practical by bringing in the newest techniques to the competition.

“The purpose of this exercise is basically to take, you know, a set of our students and really throw them in the deep end and just see how they perform, “ Masino said. “It gives them a good idea of what they’ll run up against.”

Teams were scored on their ability to keep network services both secure and operational whilst under attack.

Madison College competitor Yashi Enjeti said, “It’s one thing to study everything and kind of go through the materials but it’s another one to experience how it is in the real life.”

Masino said the need for cyber security experts is on the rise as information hacks, identity theft, and even nation-state related breaches are occurring.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College competitor Noah Clar said, he enjoys cyber security because it allows him to test his strengths and abilities.

“I like being able to protect people and to be there too if somebody has a problem. To always be there to protect them and help them fix the problem and see what I can do,” he added.

UW-Stout's team won first place. They will go on to compete at the Midwest Regional CCDC and should they advance, they’ll ultimately compete at the national level.

The MWCCDC will take place in mid-March and the 2020 CCDC national championship will take place mid April.