May 02, 2006

SIUC team fourth in national cyber defense contest

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A team of Southern Illinois University Carbondale students finished fourth in the nation at the inaugural National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, hosted April 21-23 by the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte finished first, followed by Millersville (Pa.) University and the University of Texas at San Antonio. SIUC's team defeated a team jointly fielded by the five U.S. military academies.

"I feel that this type of exposure helps raise the level of interest in security as a potential career and it educates students on the importance of defending the network rather than hacking it," said Belle Woodward, the SIUC team's faculty adviser and assistant professor of information systems technologies in the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies. The school is part of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

The SIUC team advanced to the national competition by capturing the first Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, held in late March at the University of Illinois.

The competition is part of the Department of Homeland Security's effort to promote protection of information infrastructure. The three-day competition included various scenarios, with scoring based on meeting deadlines, keeping computers running and preventing a group of veteran technology professionals from hacking into the system.

SIUC's team consisted of Joshua F. Backfield, a senior in electronic systems technology from Springfield (329 S. Walnut); Daniel R. Booth, a junior in information systems technology from Elkville (200 W. Main); Timothy J. Davis, a sophomore in Information systems & Applied Technologies from Pontiac (611 Boulder Drive); Jeremy W. Lawler, a junior in computer science and electrical engineering from Westmont (1317 Virginia Drive); Anil Mehta, a doctoral student in engineering science from Bombay, India; John G. "Greg" Pangrazio, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering from Island Lake; Teri A. Rybacki, a senior in information systems technology from Du Quoin (758 Scotch Pine Rd); and Travis G. Young, a junior in Information Systems & Applied Technologies from Chester (3837 Palestine Road).

"I'm very proud of the team and they've done an excellent job. I look forward to working with many of the students next year," said Woodward.

Achieving excellence in undergraduate and graduate education is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.