February 23, 2011

Security Dawgs advance to Midwest regionals

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale student cyber defense team will return to a familiar place next month.

The “Security Dawgs” finished second in the Illinois Cyber Defense Competition on Saturday, Feb. 19, and advance to the Midwest Regional Competition for a fifth time in the event’s six years. The squad finished second behind DePaul University.

The Security Dawgs won the regional competition in 2006 and qualified for the national competition. They also now have four second-place finishes.

The statewide competition featured teams from eight schools, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois State University, and DeVry University of Chicago, took place on two campuses -- SIUC and Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. Lake Land College in Mattoon was the other team to compete at SIUC.

Teams work to keep their site secure from hackers and unwanted cyber attacks. They also are responsible for system maintenance, upgrades, and completing other requests, such as installing or upgrading a website. Teams earn points based on the how successful they are at accomplishing the business tasks, in addition to identifying and stopping hacker attacks, and writing incident reports.

“The team had a great experience at the competition this last weekend,” said Tom Imboden, an assistant professor in Information Systems and Applied Technologies, and faculty adviser for the registered student organization. “While they did well, the security pros participating as the ‘Red Team,’ launching attacks at their assigned network and systems, highlighted some areas that they can improve on before competing in the upcoming Midwest Regionals in March.”

Michael Buhman, a junior in information systems technologies from Murphysboro, is team captain. The team is “really excited to get the chance to compete again at the regionals,” he said.

The top two finishers from each of the state competitions advance to the Midwest Regional, March 25-27, also at Moraine Valley Community College. The sixth annual National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is April 8-10.

Belle Woodward, an associate professor also in the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies, said the students did a “great job” in the event. The team is now preparing for the regionals and working hard.

“They are working non-stop,” she said. “They listened to the feedback … from the judges and hopefully with that feedback and more training we can go from there.”

Woodward said she’s proud of the program’s accomplishments. Not only are students making the mark in competitions, but the private sector also knows of the Security Dawgs success, Woodward said. Deloitte & Touche, Lockheed Martin Corp., The Boeing Company, and Trustwave are among the companies expressing interest in SIUC students, she said.

The Security Dawgs will host a security workshop that focuses on suggestions to keep your wireless Internet browsing and online transactions safe early next month. The workshop is from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 5. The workshop is in room 204B of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Building, 1365 Douglas Drive. Contact Imboden for more information or to register at 618/453-7296 or by email at timboden@siu.edu.

The workshop is free, but donations will be accepted. Proceeds will go to the Security Dawgs Collegiate Cyber Defense competition team to assist with travel and related expenses to upcoming competitions.

Competing for SIUC, listed by hometown, major, and year in school are:


  • Danville: Darcie L. Cohee, information systems technologies, junior.
  • LaHarpe: Donnie R. Owsley, information systems technologies, senior.
  • Murphysboro: Michael O. Buhman, information systems technologies, junior.
  • Murphysboro: Gavin L. McDaniel, information systems technologies, senior (alternate).
  • Nashville: Gared M. Seats, information systems technologies, senior.
  • Olney: Ross W. Petty, information systems technologies, electronic systems technologies.
  • Peoria: Anton Castelli, information systems technologies, senior.
  • Pinckneyville: Timothy A. Gallatin, information systems technologies, senior.
  • Streamwood: Ross H. Bennett, information systems technologies, senior, (alternate).
  • Tamaroa: Paul J. Nehrkorn, information systems technologies, senior, (alternate).
  • Trilla: Gregory S. Groves, information systems technologies, senior.


  • Fort Myers: J. Scott Ross, information systems technologies, senior (alternate).