KU’s Information Security Club, the JayHackers, participated virtually in the At-Large Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (ALCCDC). Two KU EECS teams, one from the Lawrence (CS) Campus and one Edwards (BSIT) Campus, spent a weekend in late March protecting a virtual environment from professional hackers, known as the red team. During this regional qualifier, hosted by the University of Hawaii, 15 teams from across the United States were tasked with securing their virtual network, maintaining multiple services offered by their company and providing help desk support to company employees.
Out of 15 teams, the BSIT JayHackers placed 3rd. This team was comprised of six students that had never participated in a competition. They were paired with two veteran participants. The result was a diverse skill set, leading to KU’s first top three placement at a regional qualifier. While business services, such as a website or company database, are vital to success in these competitions, being able to communicate effectively and convey information through a virtual medium can make or break teams. Behind rookies Madi Schulte and Hannah West, the team was able to complete business-related tasks with high praise from the judges. Schulte received top marks for company documents and information provided to competition organizers. West was praised for remaining professional when faced with disgruntled and unhappy company employees.
Maintaining services, securing the network and providing support to end users can be a daunting task. In order to succeed, team members must be able to multitask, think quickly on their feet and communicate effectively. These events provide hands-on experience and build skills that not only supplement knowledge gained in the classroom, but can also lead to employment opportunities. When asked for one piece of advice to future participants, BSIT Senior Stefan Papakostopoulos said, “Check the logs.”
Participation in this event would not have been possible without support from the EECS department, School of Engineering, and involved faculty and staff.
Third place BSIT Team: left to right: John Ross, Matthew Loo, Daniel Ogran, Madi Schulte, Hannah West, Jason Savage, Stefan Papakostopoulos, Zach Welk