National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition includes TU team

A team of students from The University of Tulsa’s Tandy School of Computer Science won the southwest regional and competed at the 2016 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition April 22-24, in San Antonio, Texas. This year marks TU’s ninth time to participate and the first time to win regionals.

cyber teamTU’s information security team defeated seven other southwest region schools when tasked with protecting computer networks against the same type of real world cyber threats that infiltrate major retailers, corporations, social networks and financial institutions. In two eight-hour sessions, students were required to secure and maintain servers and workstations, manage data, administer users and perform common business-related and administrative tasks while fending off attacks from a live opposition team.

TU team members include: Gavin Bauer, Kyle Cook, Michael Frohlich, Matt Hruz, Ryan McCarthy, Thomas Shaw, Jack Thompson, Duc Tran and staff adviser Andrew Kongs.

“It’s one thing to practice in a classroom where there is no stress or deadlines, but it’s another to repair a broken server while making it secure and not taking it offline,” said Bauer, a senior. “It’s extremely difficult.”

He said many team members specialize in certain areas of cyber security such as firewall, website, mail server and other areas of cyber protection. “We try to divide and conquer the problems during competition,” Bauer said.

TU faces the winning teams from nine other regions in the national competition: Brigham Young University, Cal Poly Pomona, DePaul University, Northeastern University, University of Central Florida, University of Alaska – Anchorage, Dakota State University, Columbia Basin College and Liberty University. The event provides hands-on learning opportunities that support exciting and challenging cyber careers.

The Tulsa World newspaper covered the team’s win in the southwest regional and planned trip to nationals. TU computer science Professor John Hale even had “trading cards” created for each team member that highlights his specialities and includes spoof photos.