RIT Hosts Northeast Regional Computer Security Competition Feb. 29-March 2

Industry and military experts from across the country will attempt to infiltrate students’ networks

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For savvy cyber thieves, it may take only a few keystrokes to penetrate a corporation’s computer network and access its confidential information. With identity theft and cyber attacks on the rise against corporations and individuals, Rochester Institute of Technology is leading the charge in educating students about networking, security and systems administration.

RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, will host five universities Feb. 29 through March 2 for the Northeast Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Student teams from RIT, Champlain College, Northeastern University, Norwich University, Polytechnic University and Syracuse University will compete in this first-ever regional event. The winning team advances to the national competition in April.

Each student team will create a mock corporate information technology department. Students will assume the roles of recently hired network administrators. Over the three-day period, teams will be have to maintain and protect their networks while fulfilling various business demands such as running a Web site and setting up e-mail accounts.

Simultaneously, a team of industry experts will attempt to infiltrate the teams’ networks. The attack team members will probe, scan and try to disrupt each student team’s daily operations. Students will be scored on such criteria as keeping required services running, preventing unauthorized access and completing business tasks.

Industry and military representatives from McAfee, Cisco, Symantec, Wegmans, PAETEC, Dox Electronics, The Technology Company, Innovative Solutions, Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point will participate in the competition.

An RIT professor will head a panel of judges that will score the teams. The judges are made up of volunteers from several companies as well as RIT faculty and staff. The event sponsors are McAfee, Harris RF Communications and Cisco.

“It’s great to have so much enthusiasm from the universities and industry members,” says Pete Lutz, an event organizer and RIT professor of networking, security and systems administration. “We are thrilled to be hosting this competition. It’s an ideal way to highlight the talents of our students in this growing field and expose them to real-world security scenarios.”

To meet the need for computer security experts, RIT is now offering a Bachelor of Science degree in information security and forensics. Graduates of this specialized degree program will be able to identify security vulnerabilities and prevent attacks. The curriculum provides an understanding of the forensic requirements to determine the origin of an attack and how it occurred. Furthermore, students will have the knowledge to assess the extent of damage and lost information. Upon completing the degree, students will be prepared for such hands-on technical careers as security analysts, security auditors, network architects and Web security managers.

For more information about the degree programs and the regional competition, visit www.nssa.rit.edu.

MEDIA NOTE: Students, industry representatives and team coaches will be available for interviews throughout the competition. Please call ahead to arrange a time to talk with students, as their availability will be limited.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Pete Lutz, (585) 469-2708