For the fifth year in a row, a team of students from the Computing, Electronics & Networking Technologies (CENT) program at Honolulu Community College (HonCC) and the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu, placed within the top three of the “At Large” regional of the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC).
This year’s team finished second in the region, behind the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who then advanced to the CCDC national finals in San Antonio, Texas. The CCDC is considered the premier national collegiate cybersecurity competition, who’s past winners include some of the top cybersecurity universities in the country, such as this year’s national winner, the University of Maryland (Baltimore County).
This year’s team, Hawaiʻi Advanced Technology Society (HATS), was a new team from last year, and consisted of Daniel Fong, Catherine Sarte, Kara Nitta, John Nguyen (co-captain), Christine Rioca (co-captain), Mark Bolibol, Scott Nishiura, and Brian Kim.
For the CCDC competition, the student teams are tasked with assuming administrative and protective duties for an existing “commercial” network – typically a small company with 50+ users, 7 to 10 servers, and common internet services such as a web server, mail server, and e-commerce site, all the while being hacked by a “Red” team and handing requests from an “Orange” team.
The competition is designed to be stressful and challenge the students’ ability to work under pressure.
“Our goals entering the competition was to learn as much as we could, take in whatever injects they threw at us, and get through the competition without crying, throwing up, or giving up,” explained captain Christine Rioca.
Team coach and HCC-CENT professor Aaron Tanaka stated that he “was extremely proud of how our students worked together as a team. I know they were stressed, but they were able to maintain their composure throughout the competition and operate as a team”
With the explosive growth of cyber attacks on the Internet, there is a need to train up a new generation of cybersecurity professionals. Cyber competitions such as the CCDC and the National Cyber League are being held in order to help students sharpen their skills as cybersecurity professionals.