UW Students Take on Cyber Security Challenge

May 11, 2012
People working on computers
UW students push their computer skills to the limit in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. From left are Alex Wellock, Dallas, Ore.; Paul Ogle, Cheyenne; Dietrich Wambach, Guernsey; and Jay Wuensch, Gillette.

A team of University of Wyoming students knows what it takes to thwart cyber attacks targeting the United States.

Eight UW students won the north-central regional competition to earn the opportunity to compete in the recent National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) held at San Antonio, Texas.  

The NCCDC pits teams of college students against one another in an environment where cyber security skills are pushed to the limit, says UW coach Jim Ward, a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science. He says the competition is modeled from real-world scenarios and obstacles.

"Each team was required to correct problems on their network, perform typical business tasks, and defend their networks from a red team that generated live, hostile activity throughout the competition," Ward says.  

UW students concentrate on solving a real-world cyber security issue. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently announced that the United States faces thousands of cyber attacks every 45 minutes. In line with the nation's commitment to cyber defense, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced in his 10-year budget forecast that cyber security is one of a few select areas that will receive additional investment and resources, even as the Department of Defense readies to scale back $487 billion in spending in other areas.

"The national event serves as an additional training ground for future cyber defenders," Ward says. "It also provides the best and brightest collegiate students an opportunity to shine on a national stage and connect with the top cyber security firms in the country."

Members of the UW CCDC team that competed in the national event were:

Cheyenne -- Paul Ogle and Eric Richardson.

Centennial, Colo. -- Nate Wermers.

Dallas, Ore. -- Alex Wellock.

Douglas -- Nick Anderson.

Gillette -- Jay Wuensch.

Guernsey -- Dietrich Wambach, team captain.

Jackson -- Dustin Brown.

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