Cyber Defense Club invited to national competition at Argonne National Laboratory

Author: 
Jennifer Tidball

A group of Kansas State University students will spend the weekend fending off cyberattacks and keeping information secure. 

Six members of the university's Cyber Defense Club are competing in Argonne National Laboratory's Cyber Defense Competition 2017 on Saturday, April 1, at the laboratory's facility in Lemont, Illinois. K-State was invited to participate in the competition, which includes 15 teams from colleges and universities across the country. 

The six K-State students who will be competing are Jordan Voss, sophomore in computer science, Hays; Lance Pettay, senior in computer science, Hutchinson; Richard Petrie, master's student in business administration, Lenexa; Nathan Hood, freshman in computer science, Manhattan; Logan Prough, sophomore in computer science, Olathe; and Matt Webb, master's student in computer science, Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

At the competition, the students will participate in a staged real-life scenario. Collegiate teams — called blue teams — have spent three weeks creating and designing a cyberdefense network for a green team, which represents a utility company and its employees and customers. The collegiate teams will set up their systems at Argonne National Laboratory, where a red team of professional hackers will try to infiltrate and disrupt the cybersecurity networks designed by the collegiate teams. The students must defend their networks from the cyberattacks while still providing services to the green team. 
The collegiate teams are scored based on the security of their network as well as the accessibility of their services to members of the green team. 

"These kinds of competitions give real-life experience," said Prough, safety and ethics officer for the Cyber Defense Club. "In cybersecurity, it's one thing to learn about the theory and concept in the classroom, but it's another task entirely to go out in a real-world scenario and implement what you learned in the classroom. That's what we're doing at this competition." 

The Cyber Defense Club formed in 2011 and has 26 members for the 2016-2017 school year. Eugene Vasserman, associate professor of computer science, is the faculty adviser. 
"I'm very proud of the great performance and track record of the Cyber Defense Club and all its membership, including those going to this competition, as well as those who are staying behind and training hard for the next one," Vasserman said. "The entire club helps with training for competitions and contributes to the success of the team who goes. The club has a fantastic competition track record, participates regularly in Open House and does many other extracurricular education activities." 
The Cyber Defense Club has participated in several national cybersecurity competitions and club members took first place at the 2015 Central Area Networking and Security, or CANSec, competition. 
For more information about Argonne National Laboratory's Cyber Defense Competition 2017, visit cyberdefense.anl.gov.