Computer Science Students Participate at ISU’s Cyberdefense Competition

Pictured are UNI students who competed at ISU's CyberdefenseOn Saturday, February 8th from 8 AM to 4 PM, a group of UNI students participated in Iowa State University’s (ISU) Cyberdefense Competition. The group arrived on Friday to set up their station and make last minute preparations.

Computer Science professors, Paul Gray and Sarah Diesburg, accompanied the students. Shand has taken the UNI team for a number of years. This was Diesburg’s first experience at the competition. Diesburg described the preparation time as a period to learn about the environments and services the students needed to maintain, how to lock down potentially vulnerable systems and set up services required for the competition. “The actual infrastructure for the event was hosted on ISU’s ISEAGE (Internet-Scale Event and Attack Generation Environment) servers, but our students had to bring their trusted laptops, quick thinking, past experience and a lot of caffeine.”

At the competition, participants were color coded to correspond with their roles. The students were on the blue teams had to make usable systems, yet be secure from attackers. The attackers, or the red team, were security professionals from the community. The green team consisted of ISU volunteers who attempted use of the systems. The balance of red and green teams helped instill the idea that computer systems need to be secure, but also usable.

“The cyberdefense competition gave our students a great opportunity to set up different computer services and systems required in a typical corporate IT infrastructure, secure them from threats, and respond to active threats while attacks were occurring. I think this competition provides a great opportunity for students to gain a lot of experience in cyber defense in a very short time period.  They will be able to directly apply the valuable skills gained in this competition to their careers after graduation.”