February 27, 2007

SIUC places second in cyber defense contest

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. —DePaul University captured the Illinois Regional Cyber Defense Competition this weekend at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

DePaul beat SIUC by less than a 5 percent difference in total scores, said SIUC Information Systems and Applied Technologies Director Will R. Devenport. Moraine Valley Community College was third and Illinois State finished fourth. The University of Illinois did not compete as originally scheduled.

DePaul advances March 16-18 to the Midwest Regional — which SIUC won in 2006 — to face winning teams from Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. Regional winners compete in the second national competition April 13-15 at the University of Texas at San Antonio. SIUC finished fourth in the nation last year.

The student teams competed in defending a corporate computer network — and keeping it running and functional — against a cyber-attack during the 21-hour, two-day competition that started Friday afternoon and ended at 10 p.m. Saturday.

The multiple operating systems required various network functions such as Web, email and database services. Security professionals from SAVVIS, Inc., attempted to disrupt each team's operations throughout the competition.

The students learned a great deal during the competition by being tested by a group of security professionals. Security professional debriefed the students after the competition.

"That in itself was a great opportunity for them," he said. "It was a great classroom environment for the students put on by these professionals."

SIUC team members were Michael Sanders, a junior in computer science from Peoria; Shanda R. Owens, a junior in computer science from Lansing, Kan.; and Jeremy W. Lawler, a senior in computer science and electrical engineering from Westmont. Other team members, all majoring in information systems technology, were Timothy Davis, a sophomore, from Pontiac; Daniel R. Booth, a senior, from Elkville; Jesse R. Adams, a senior, from Robinson; Robert J. Heren, a senior, from Carbondale; Shawn Weccele, a senior with degree, from Bluford; and Darren P. Sheldon, a senior, from McLean.

Devenport also lauded the work of the University's Information Technology Department, which was responsible for putting together identical network systems that included more than 90 computers and other equipment. Information Technology administrative coordinator Curt R. Wilson, network engineers Ji Vania and Michael A. Shelton, and Information Systems and Applied Technologies computer information specialist Todd S. Goro "were instrumental in designing, building and running the competition," Devenport said.