RIT takes third place in cyber defense competition

Three-day competition provides students with practical experience

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RIT won third place in the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition March 5-7. Above is the RIT team (from left), made up of Tom Kopchak, Mike Tortora, Josh Smith, David Pisano, Jacob Ruppal, John O’Connor, Alex Levinson, Gerry Brunelle, Nate Przybyszewski and (bottom) Coach Bill Stackpole.

A group of RIT students captured third place in the annual Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition March 5-7 in Orono, Maine. RIT was edged out of regional bragging rights by overall winner Northeastern University and second-place University of Maine.

The RIT team was comprised of students from the Department of Networking, Security and Systems Administration in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. The competition required each student team member to assume the role of a network administrator in a mock information technology department of a small company. Each team has to maintain and protect computer networks from an outside team of attackers while carrying out everyday business tasks. The idea is to simulate day-to-day operations at a corporation.

“These types of activities are important because you can’t have experiences like this in a classroom,” says team member Gerry Brunelle. “This experience gives participants practical knowledge in how to actually defend against real attacks.”

Team member David Pisano says the competition provided a great test.

“You need to think on your feet—executing moves while you’re being attacked,” Pisano says. “Practical experience is all-important. If you can make it through the competition, you learn a lot.”

Other participants in the competition included Harvard University, Champlain College, Alfred State College, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Stevens Institute of Technology and SUNY Oswego.