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DSU cyber defense team places 3rd at national competition

May 10, 2018

The Dakota State University Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) team took third place in the national CCDC competition held April 13-15 in Orlando, Florida.

The DSU team also took third place in the accompanying panoply event. A panoply is a competition in which teams compete for control of common resources, and the critical services on those resources.

Throughout the 10 CCDC regions in the nation, 230 teams from college and universities competed over the late winter and spring. By winning the North Central Regional Competition, DSU earned the right to compete against the other nine regional winners including the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Virginia, Baylor University, California State-Northridge, the University of Washington, the University of Buffalo (NY) and Utah Valley University. All these schools have between 17,000 and 46,000 students. Dakota State’s enrollment in 2017 was 3,307; another national team from Indiana Tech has an enrollment of 4,384.

CCDC teams work as a “blue team,” managing and protecting a simulated business network infrastructure which is functional, but not secure; a separate offense team, called the “red team,” attacks the environment. The blue teams are scored on their ability to detect and respond to these threats while maintaining the availability of the system.

“These are real-world scenarios that make the things we learn at DSU more applicable,” said team member Dylan Johnson, a master’s degree student in applied computer science from Slayton, Minn. This practical experience is valuable, he stated, because there will be threats in the real world, especially with banks and hospitals. Cody Welu, an instructor in the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences, was the team’s advisor. Team members included:

  • Jacob Williams, cyber operations major from Parker, S.D.
  • Nic Mews-Schmuck, cyber operations major from Emery, S.D.
  • Brian Vertullo, cyber operations major from Orange, Calif.
  • Nick O’Donnell, network and security administration major from Belgrade, Mont.
  • Dylan Johnson, master’s degree student in applied computer science, from Slayton, Minn.
  • Evan Bolt, master’s degree student in applied computer science from Edgerton, Minn.
  • Mike Garippo, cyber operations and network and security double major from Chicago, Illinois
  • Michael Cutshaw, cyber operations major from Clear Lake, S.D.

CCDC competitions have been held since 2005; this was the fifth time that a DSU team has competed in the national tournament, including a second-place finish in 2013.