Cyber defense team advances to qualifiers after beating UofL

Students from NKU are currently participating in the 2013 Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which focuses on cyber defense. On Feb. 16, the team won against the University of Louisville placing them as 2013 Ohio CCDC qualifiers. Team members participating in the competition are Lee Epling, Brandon Warner, Brandon Hinkel, Sean Benson, Shawn Banta, Connor Gerome, Jack Lannon and Josh Bemerer.

In the competition, hackers attempt to break into the players’ systems. Teams from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, and Michigan all participate in the midwest games.  The teams win points based on how well protected their system is. Teams lose points if they use a recovery on their system (if it is attacked) or if it is infiltrated successfully by the hackers, the Red Team. Depending on how many times the team’s system is hacked depends on how many points are lost.

Professor Yi Hu, the adviser for NKU’s team, said the team is a group of “dedicated and self-motivated students.” NKU’s team has been around since 2009.

Hu said his role is more of a passion than a job and hopes that more students will want to participate. He hopes his students will develop technical skills that can be used to benefit professional protection systems as well as advance in our own cyber defense system at NKU.

The NKU team meets every Friday to practice their skills. During the practices, student coach Ty Braunwart said he helps the team practice by hacking the team members’ systems.

Most of the students are computer science majors but students of all majors are welcome. The team is looking for more interested students to join. Freshman Connor Gerome, said that he joined the team because of his major. To reward themselves this past Friday, the team got together and played games. The team meets every Friday night  from 5 – 8 p.m. in Griffin Hall room 173.

The team will go on to compete at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Ill. from March 22-23. If the team wins this they will go onto to the national competition in Texas.