Texas A&M hosts, wins regional cyber security contest

Texas A&M hosted the Southwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) during Spring Break (March 14-18).

Texas A&M University took first place in the competition. Second place went to a first-year team from Southern Methodist University, and third place went to University of Tulsa.

This is Texas A&M's sixth win of the Southwestern Regional Competition. The team is now preparing for the national competition in San Antonio April 8-10. The Texas A&M team included

  • Mark Browning, captain (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • William Chen (Department of Computer Science and Engineering)
  • Andrew Chin (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Nik Johnson (Department of Computer Science and Engineering)
  • Matt Mullins (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Robert "Red" Schumacher (Department of Computer Science and Engineering)
  • Kyle Willmon (Department of Computer Science and Engineering)
  • Eric Wood (Department of Computer Science and Engineering)

Team member Matthew Mullins attributes the team's success to well-rounded competitors.

"One thing that makes this year's team different from last year is that everyone was always working. We all had multiple specialties."

This was Texas A&M's third consecutive year to host, and with 11 teams, the competition was larger than ever.

CCDC is truly a defensive competition. Teams of eight students are given a "corporate" network of computers and asked to defend it from the Red Team, network security professionals that act as attackers. In addition to defending the network, student teams must maintain the services needed for a business to run, and satisfy the requests of a demanding CIO (chief information officer).

The competition staff included employees from Texas A&M's Networking and Information Security, the Academy for Advancing Telecommunications and Learning Technologies, and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. This group planned the three-day event for about 130 attendees.

This unique competition requires all of the tasks common to event planning and detailed network planning to create 11 identical networks and integrate them into the central network for scoring.

The Red Team for this event was provided by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and sponsor for the event included Deloitte, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin.