State University of New York Institute of Technology
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NCS team turns in stand-out performance at regional competition

By team member Matthew Lapinski

This past weekend, students from SUNYIT's Network and Computer Security program competed for the first time in the 6th annual Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NECCDC) at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine. The competition is a regional qualifier for the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) to be held from April 19-21 in San Antonio, Texas.

The NECCDC is modeled after the typical red team/blue team scenario used in many cyber defense competitions around the country. The premise of the contest is that the blue teams (students) have been hired to take over a business network after the previous security team had been let go due to a major breach of proprietary information. The blue team must securely reconfigure the system and carry out regular business tasks, while defending their system against constant attack by the red team. At the NECCDC, the red team consisted of information security professionals on the forefront of corporate and national cybersecurity.

NCSThe SUNYIT team, consisting of its captain, Michael Burke, Jr., Patrick Araya, Jacob Hartman, Matthew Lapinski, Anthony Miller-Rhodes, Elisha Myers, Peter Shipman, and Robert Sleys, finished in 2nd place to the perennial champion, Rochester Institute of Technology. The 8 other schools that participated in the event were Syracuse University, Northeastern University, University of New Hampshire, University of Maine, Champlain College, SUNY Buffalo, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Alfred State College. During the grueling three-day competition, the SUNYIT team successfully defended their system against a wide variety of cyber attacks, and led the competition in service uptime – a key component of any business network.

The NECCDC's keynote speaker was Raphael Mudge, the creator of industry-standard penetration testing tools such as Armitage, Cobalt Strike, and the principal investigator in DARPA's Cortana initiative. When asked about SUNYIT’s 2nd place finish, he stated:  First-year competitors never place. It just doesn’t happen.

The SUNYIT team would like to thank their coach, Nick Merante, for all of the time and hard work that he has put into getting the team ready for the competition, as well as traveling with the team to Maine. Also, a special thanks to Jeff Foley, Michael Lisi, and Daniel Martin from Northrop Grumman for their invaluable professional advice and numerous penetration tests of the team’s practice network.


Photo courtesy of the University of Maine. With the SUNYIT team (at right) is George Markowsky, associate director of the UMaine School of Computing and Information Science.


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