St. Cloud State University’s Collegiate Cyber Defense Team competed in the 2023 Minnesota State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) state qualifier on Feb. 4 in Alexandria, placing fifth out of 11 teams. While the eight-member team didn’t make it to the state competition, the point gaps between all teams were very tight.
The Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition was designed by educators, students, government and industry representatives to give college students experience in managing the protection of corporate network infrastructure and business information systems.
The competition consisted of a fictional organization that hired a team to harden and protect its current network. At the same time, hackers tried to infiltrate the network and cause chaos. Scoring was based on service uptime, inject competition, red team detection, resumes and hidden gems in the operating system such as credit card files. Teams were also tasked with creating and gathering information as requested throughout the competition.
SCSU’s eight-member team was led by three-time competition veteran and cybersecurity major Nicky Rathe, who will graduate in May. Valuable lessons were learned in server configuration, network security, and firewalls. The team also developed experience using different tools such as Splunk, Palo Alto firewalls, NMap, Wireshark and others. Participants experienced a professional IT environment while networking with industry representatives at the same time. In fact, three former SCSU students acted as hackers.
The competition is put on annually by the Minnesota State system and the Minnesota State system IT Center of Excellence.