College students from more than 180 schools across the country will start showcasing their cyber skills this week in the 2016 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The national NCCDC tournament launches regional contests in March and April; from there, teams will advance based on who best protects their computer networks against real-world cyber attack scenarios.
In 2014, Raytheon became the three-year title sponsor of NCCDC. The company will help kick off the 2016 NCCDC season at 10 regional events, with the winning teams meeting at the national competition in San Antonio, Texas, on April 22-24.
Raytheon provides a variety of specialized technical resources and employee volunteers to help with the competition. The effort is aimed at educating and inspiring the next generation of cyber defenders.
“Now more than ever before, the U.S. and countries around the world are connected by global information networks,” said David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services business. “The risk to nations’ networks are complex and is the driving force that propels Raytheon to take action to help build our cyber talent pipeline with this national competition.”
The ten regional competitions that will determine the contenders for the national championship will take place on the following dates:
•March 4-5: Rocky Mountain CCDC, Regis University, Denver, Colorado
•March 11-13: Northeast CCDC, University of Maine, Orono, Maine
•March 12-13: Southwest CCDC, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
•March 18-20: At Large CCDC, RAVE Lab (virtual/remote)
•March 18-20: Western CCDC, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, California
•March 31-April 2: Mid-Atlantic CCDC, Johns Hopkins University Physics Lab, Laurel, Maryland
•April 1-2: Mid-West CCDC, Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, Illinois
•April 1-2: North Central Regional CCDC, Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota
•April 1-3: Pacific Rim CCDC, Highline Community College, Des Moines, Washington
•April 6-7: Southeast CCDC, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia
“NCCDC relies on partners such as Raytheon to augment classroom learning with real-world experience for our participating students, so they can better understand how cyber theory might actually be applied over the course of their careers,” said Dwayne Williams, director of NCCDC. “The diversity of support from the Department of Homeland Security, Raytheon and other industry leaders demonstrates to our students and to the nation the critical importance of growing skills in the cybersecurity field.”
Founded in 2005 by the University of Texas San Antonio’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security, NCCDC has grown to include qualifying, state and regional level competitions. NCCDC is modeled after real-world commercial business environments, challenging collegiate teams to successfully keep a company running despite constant cyber attacks. To win, undergraduate and graduate students must secure and maintain servers and workstations, manage data, administer users and perform common business-related and administrative tasks while fending off attacks from a live opposition team.
The University of Central Florida won both the 2014 and the 2015 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Raytheon offered internships to each student on the winning team and brought them to Washington, D.C., to tour the nation’s top research and national cybersecurity sites, including the Department of Homeland Security, National Cryptologic Museum at the National Security Agency and Raytheon’s own labs.