RIT Wins Regional Cyber Defense Competition

Students will travel to San Antonio to compete in national competition

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RIT took first place in the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition March 4-6. The RIT team is made up of Brandon Mauer, left, John O’Connor, Alex Levinson, Todd Straceski, Alex Shagla-McKotch, Jacob Ruppal, Griffith Chaffee, Tom Kopchak and coach Bill Stackpole.

A group of eight RIT students took first place in the annual Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition March 4-6 in Franklin, Mass. RIT bested 10 other universities to win this year’s regional award and will travel to the national competition April 8-10 in San Antonio, Texas.

The competition, which brings together more than 100 students and 50 industry leaders, requires students to assume administrative control of all information systems within the network of a mock company.

“A group of industry professionals that break into computer networks is attacking a team of students to exploit any information from the small company,” explains Bill Stackpole, RIT professor of networking, security and systems administration and coach of the RIT team. “The team of students is trying to prevent access to the network, while maintaining availability of existing business services, such as setting up printers, mail services or making sure the website can still sell products.”

Teams were scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain existing services, respond to business requests such as the addition or removal of services, and balance security needs with business needs.

RIT team captain John O’Connor describes the competition as a three-day long problem solving exercise.

“It requires a lot of different technical expertise. Our team is successful because we draw from a diverse group of people,” O’Connor says.

Other participants in the competition included Alfred State College, Champlain College, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Pace University, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Boston and University of New Hampshire.