University News

SUU’s Champion Cyber Defense Team Competes in National Competition

Published: July 30, 2015 | Author: Thomas Ybarra | Category: Academics

The blue lights of the computers light up the room as a hundred plus participants with the 2015 Western Regional Cyber Summer Camp log in to their computers and brace themselves to defend, or hack, their website.

U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) and Southern Utah University’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering host this years’ cyber security executive round table and Western Regional Cyber Summer Camp where students experience lessons on offensive and defensive moves concerning computer software, wireless signals and how to protect signals coming and going, and many other topics concerning cyber security.

Attendees to the invitation-only camp were selected based in part on their scores from Cyber Quests, an online competition offered through the USCC in April 2015 that drew more than 1,300 registrants from almost 600 schools nationwide.

The daily lessons in the Camp are condensed versions of weeklong courses ranging typically costing $5,000 per course, but this year’s attendees receive these lessons either for free or for no more than $500 for the entire camp.

The camp concludes with cyber securities’ version of “Capture the Flag.” A competition where attendees apply their cyber security skills and knowledge they learn throughout the week to hack computer software while their opponents defend the cyber-attacks.

Among students attending the Conference are three of SUU’s 2015, first place champion Cyber Defense Club Team at the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in March 2015.

Shaun Stapley, senior information systems major from Cedar City, Utah, said that the conference is just an extension to what they are learning in SUU’s classrooms. Stapley stated that the camp is providing him with better knowledge of computer forensics, which is very applicable to his intended career.

Alex Rodriguez-Vargas, a junior computer science major with an emphasis on forensics, is excited to be taking away networking opportunities from the camp’s job fair and the other camp’s attendees.

While Stapley and Rodriquez-Vargas intend to utilize their learning experiences from the camp into their careers, Damien Anderson, a junior majoring in professional piolets, participates in cyber security and SUU’s Cyber Defense Club as a hobby and intends to bring back everything he learns from the camp to his team to better prepare the team for future competitions.

When asking how the Conference would benefit him, Anderson explains, “The conference is allows me to gain the experience on a professional level and gives me a leg up in the industry.” 

The camp provides SUU students hands on experience and training for their future careers and success in the U.S Cyber Challenge at the end of the week. All three SUU students will participate in the “Capture the Flag” cyber challenge on Friday, July 29.

U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) is a program of the Center for Internet Security and has the mission to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cyber security professionals. USCC’s goal is to find 10,000 of America’s best and brightest to fill the ranks of cyber security professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation.


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