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UVA wins 2018 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Championship

University of Virginia prevailed over nine other finalist teams to win the 2018 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The championship was held in Orlando, Fla. from April 13-15 with the top 10 college and university teams from across the nation. University of Virginia earned the national title by successfully protecting a fictional biotech firm’s network against an onslaught of persistent cyber attacks from top security experts posing as hackers.

With more than 230 colleges and universities competing to test their cybersecurity prowess, the 10 finalists advanced to the national round after competing in multiple stages before advancing to a single round elimination at regional competitions nationwide. NCCDC was the first to test cyber defense skills in a collegiate competition modeled after real-world attack scenarios, and it aims to encourage more students to pursue cybersecurity careers.

“NCCDC’s systematic, professional approach to this competition and the use of real-world business scenarios  will contribute to filling the projected 1.8 million cyber job vacancies by 2022,” said John DeSimone, vice president of Cybersecurity and Special Missions at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “We want to congratulate University of Virginia and encourage them to continue their pursuit of cybersecurity excellence through internships and throughout their careers post-graduation.”

NCCDC challenges college students to operate and manage a network infrastructure similar to that of networks found in the commercial sector and scores them based on their ability to minimize system infiltration, keep critical services in operation, and prevent exfiltration of sensitive data. In this year’s National Championship, the competing teams worked to secure a fictional biotech firm “Volitech” which specializes in vaccine research, materials research, pharmaceuticals, and biomechanical organ development.

“The NCCDC program brings academia, government and industry together in a unique way,” said Dwayne Williams, director of the NCCDC. “Everyone recognizes we need to find and train more cyber professionals and these competitions are critical in helping meet that need.”

At the end of the competition, University of Virginia earned the highest score and took home the coveted NCCDC Alamo Cup. Raytheon will bring the winning team to Washington, D.C. this summer to tour some of the nation’s top research and national cybersecurity sites.

In addition to University of Virginia’s top finish, University of Central Florida placed second, and Dakota State University placed third. The 10 schools that competed at the championship include:

  • University of Alaska Fairbanks, At Large Regional Winner
  • University of Virginia, Mid-Atlantic Regional Winner
  • Indiana Tech, Mid-West Regional Winner
  • Dakota State, North Central Regional Winner
  • University of Buffalo, Northeast Regional Winner
  • University of Washington Seattle, Pacific Rim Regional Winner
  • Utah Valley University, Rocky Mountain Regional Winner
  • University of Central Florida, Southeast Regional Winner
  • Baylor University, Southwest Regional Winner
  • California State University Northridge, Western Regional Winner

Sponsors of NCCDC include government agencies, colleges and commercial companies.