RIT takes second at Northeast regional cyber defense competition

Student team flexes cyber defense skills in nation’s largest college-level competition




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RIT took second place in the 2016 Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition held March 11–13 at the University of Maine.

A team of Rochester Institute of Technology students took second place at the annual Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition held March 11-13 at the University of Maine.

The annual event is part of the nation’s largest college-level cyber defense competition, an extracurricular event that helps to train the next generation of cybersecurity experts. The competition, held this year in Orono, Maine, gives student teams the opportunity to assume responsibility for the information technology operations of a simulated organization, allowing them to apply cyber defense skills in a real-world scenario.

Northeastern University took first at the 2016 regional competition. RIT placed second and Champlain College placed third.

RIT’s cyber defense team is a perennial contender at the regional and national competitions, having won the regionals for six out of the past nine years. RIT placed third at the national competition in 2015, second in 2014 and took first place in 2013.

“RIT was in the bottom three scoring teams at the end of day one, but they fought their way back almost all the way to the top,” said Bill Stackpole, associate professor of computing security at RIT and team coach. “It was a tremendous comeback and I’d like to commend them all, both individuals and as a team for the time, energy and sweat that they put into preparing for this experience.”

For the competition, a group of industry professionals from government and companies including Dell SecureWorks and Mozilla, are assigned to break into computer networks to exploit information from a mock company. Teams of students are “hired” by the company to prevent that information theft from occurring.

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.

“Our team this year was almost completely new to the competition atmosphere—with only one returning team member,” said Stackpole. “The students pulled together as a cohesive unit and worked incredibly well together.”

Other participants in the regional competition included Alfred State University, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of Buffalo SUNY, Syracuse University, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Boston and University of New Hampshire.

The RIT student team is made up of team captain Scott Vincent, a computing security graduate student from Schenectady, N.Y.; Jonah Baron, a computing security graduate student from Damascus, Md.; Kyle Carretto, a second-year computing security student from Corfu, N.Y.; Ryan Whittier, a fourth-year computing security student from Rochester, N.Y.; David Kukfa, a third-year computing security student from Penfield, N.Y.; Brandon Adler, a second-year computing security student from Pittsford, N.Y.; Cameron Clark, a second-year computing security student from Saco, Maine.; Jonathan Myers, a second-year computing security student from Amherst, Ohio; Tiffany Fong, a fourth-year computing security student from Oak Park, Calif.; Joseph Graham, a third-year computing security student from New Hampton, N.Y.; Ryan Sidebottom, a third-year computing security student from Whitehouse Station, N.J.; and Lucas Christian, a second-year computing security student from Portsmouth, R.I.

The RIT team is coached by Stackpole and Bo Yuan, associate professor and chair of RIT’s Department of Computing Security.

The winner of the regional competition gets an automatic berth in the 2016 national competition April 22–24 in San Antonio, Texas. Northeastern University will represent the Northeast and compete against other regional winners, including Brigham Young University and University of Tulsa. Seven more regional winners will be determined before the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

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RIT took second place in the 2016 Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition held March 11–13 at the University of Maine.