The University of Kansas' team, JayHackers wins first place in the CANSec Invitational Cyber-Defense Competition 2014


By Danielle Brady

LAWRENCE — The 6th CANSec Workshop and the CANSec Invitational Cyber-Defense Competition was concluded on Sunday, October 26, 2014 in KU's Nichols Hall, on a high note with The University of Kansas' team, JayHackers, winning over the four other blue teams, including students from five difference Midwestern universities. The KU team won first place in the seven hour competition, which showcased hard work amidst an intense atmosphere. The Championship involved student teams overseeing a small corporate network, maintaining all critical services and defending against external cyber attacks.

The first day of the two day workshop and competition welcomed keynote speaker, Dr. Ninghui Li, Professor of Computer Science from Purdue University. Dr. Li addresses Ron Evans Apollo Auditorium in Nichols Hall about information security and privacy notions for data publishing and analysis.

Following Dr. Li's speech, an industry panel consisting of six industry and academic specialists spoke about the current needs and expectations from future employees within the field. The necessary skills set required and current procedure education training essentials aligned with the needs of the industry with the expertise held by current students.

Fengjun Li, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas, applauds the discussion and interesting ideas communicated through both Dr. Li and the industry panel. Professor Li, a member of the gold team, which included eight professors from six different universities, served as a judge to score the blue teams representing Northwest Missouri State University & University of Arkansas, the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Kansas State University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the champions from the University of Kansas.

Over 60 people participated in the competition on Sunday, October 26th, including 30+ students on the blue teams (players), and faculty, staff and industry professionals serving on the gold teams as judges, on the red team as penetrators, and on the white team for infrastructure support. While maintaining five critical services including Web, HTTP, FTO, SSH, and CHAT for a corporate network, the blue team also needs to respond to injects given by the gold team every 30 minutes and attacks from the red team that randomly target any service in any team. The red team, comprised of six industry professionals, connected to the servers from Kansas City and Denver, CO., in an attempt to exploit the blue team's vulnerabilities by gaining credentials or access.

KU's JayHackers led the scores in the morning but fell behind in the afternoon due to all services shut down for 30 minutes, which caused a 5 points loss every minute as the scoring engine automatically checked for available services.

''We made a mistake in the beginning,'' says Chris Seasholtz, Captain of JayHackers, ''and we finally got caught by the red team.''

At the end of the seven hours, the final service score was 1667. Members of each team gained technical experience during the competition to help their future.

''After winning the Cyber-Defense Competition, their goal is to have the practice and the training required to try and attend the national collegiate cyber defense competition (CCDC),'' says Professor Li.

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