LSC’s Cyber Defense Team Wins Second in State Challenge; Named Best Hacker Defense Team in Midwest Collegiate Wildcard Competition

Lake Superior College Cyber Defense Team (Back Row L – R:) Ron Williams, Paul Runnoe, Jon Mallett, Nik Mallet, Travis Crotteau, Sean Zakrajsek (Front Row L – R:) Paul Litecky, Rieger Viche, Micah Kryzer

The Lake Superior College Cyber Defense team placed second in the Minnesota Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition which included eight Minnesota colleges and university teams. The LSC team moved on to compete regionally, earning the ranking of top defensive team by professional hackers who rated LSC as the team best able to defend themselves.

For the state cyber defense competition, LSC’s student team was tasked with protecting their network and devices from professional hackers for an eight-hour period. They had to securely configure their devices and respond to timed requests of typical organizational IT departments.

“We’re proud of our teamwork,” said computer information systems faculty member and team advisor Vickie McLain. “Our computer students had keen competition from the other teams, including the St. Cloud State University team which has four of our computer program graduates.”

The LSC Cyber Defense team moved on to the 2018 Midwest Regional Wildcard Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) held remotely at Lake Superior College on March 10. The competition was similar to the state competition and included all the second place teams from the other Midwest states. The LSC team performed well, placing third in the event and was rated as the top defensive team by the professional hackers who tried attacking LSC.

The Midwest CCDC provides a forum for students and industry professionals to interact and discuss many of the security and operational challenges the students will face as they enter the job market. Unlike traditional “hack and defend” or “capture the flag” contests, this competition tests each team’s ability to operate, secure, manage, and maintain a corporate network. The Midwest Regional CCDC is managed by the National Resource Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA).

Lake Superior College is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). LSC is the only two-year community and technical college in the Minnesota to earn this designation.

Through the Cybersecurity Workforce Education Initiative, the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Program is charged to raise the level of cybersecurity capabilities across the nation. NSA and DHS partner with academic institutions to enhance cybersecurity education nationwide and to develop the next generation of cybersecurity experts. The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise.

LSC has taken a leadership role in providing focused cybersecurity education through a number of initiatives. Lake Superior College offers a Network Administration and Cybersecurity A.A.S. degree that is available online or on campus. A transfer agreement with St Cloud State University allows LSC students to transfer and complete their bachelor’s degree on the SCSU campus.

LSC students can also access a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service with St. Cloud State University. The nationally funded scholarship program supports LSC students with AAS degrees to transition to a four-year degree in cybersecurity through a fully funded cyber scholarship program that includes student mentors from the university working with the LSC students

LSC’s popular and free summer high school cyber camps provide the opportunity to introduce high school students to the world of cybersecurity through hands-on workshops. Cyber camps are scheduled for June 2018.