University of Central Florida (UCF) won 1st Place at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) that took place April 25-27 in San Antonio, TX.  This annual competition was started in 2005 in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security to improve cyber security education and increase the number of highly qualified cyber security graduates in the U.S.  This Championship brings the best of the best hackers from universities all over the U.S. to fend off cyber-attacks from penetration professionals and ethical hackers.

Among those winners are GuidePoint Security interns, Carlos Beltran, the Captain of the winning UCF team; and Alex Davis, his team member.

“What sets UCFs CCDC team apart from others is that they focus on the hackers perspective. We want to know how they got in, in order to keep them out,” explained Carlos Beltran.  “There are many reasons I chose to work at GuidePoint Security, but the main reason is because I have a strong desire to learn about security and the methodologies used to perform in real-world environments. GuidePoint Security gives me the opportunity to better my trade and excel in the areas I want.”

“Competitions like this foster learning about computer security, which is something businesses need, as shown by recent breaches like Target. The people coming out of competitions like CCDC will help prevent data breaches such as the ones we have seen on the news from happening,” said Alex Davis.  “I like learning how technology works, and I discovered that the best way to learn how things work is to focus on how systems can be exploited, and how to secure them. I enjoy the field, and working at GuidePoint Security allows me to do what I enjoy.”

According to the WSJ article, “University of Central Florida wins 2014 Raytheon National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition”, more than 180 colleges and universities and 2,000 undergraduate students participated in the competitions that lead up to this year’s national championship.  The Raytheon website listed the following 10 regional champions with UCF coming in first place:

  • University of Central Florida – Southeast Regional
  • Air Force Academy – Rocky Mountain Regional
  • Dakota State University – North Central Regional
  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks – At Large Regional
  • Southern Methodist University – Southwest Regional
  • Rochester Institute of Technology – Northeast Regional
  • Western Washington University – Pacific Rim Regional
  • University of California, Berkeley – Western Regional
  • Towson University- Mid-Atlantic Regional
  • Northern Kentucky University – Midwest Regional

“While the competition has existed since 2005, UCF only very recently started competing. Shortly after I started teaching at UCF in August 2013, two of my students approached me to ask if I would be willing to sponsor a UCF team for this competition.  I realized the tremendous opportunities this competition would provide for our students.  I eagerly agreed and this is the second year UCF has entered a team.  It is also our second appearance at the National competition.  Each year, the team enters a virtual qualification round.  Eighteen teams from our 7-state Southeast region entered the qualification round including UCF, FSU, and USF from Florida.  The top 8 teams from the qualification round are invited to compete in a regional competition.  The UCF CCDC Team finished 1st in the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition held in Kennesaw, GA in both 2013 and 2014.  The regional winner earns the privilege to compete in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in San Antonio, TX along with the winning teams from the other 9 U.S. regions.  In 2013, the UCF CCDC Team finished 10th nationally in our very first year of competition.  This year, the UCF team has captured the national title as the top Collegiate Cyber Defense Team in the nation,” explained Dr. Thomas Nedorost, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science of the University of Central Florida.

2014 UCF Champs

Photo compliments of UCF Collegiate Cyber Defense Club

The winning members of the 2014 UCF Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Team are: Carlos Beltran, Team Captain Jason Cooper, Team Co-Captain Austin Brogle Alexander Davis Kevin DiClemente Dale Driggs Grant Hernandez Mark Ignacio Heather Lawrence Troy Micka Cody McMahon Joe Pate “The team’s strength lies in their teamwork, cross-training, and dedication to continue learning and improving,” said Dr. Nedorost.  “National CCDC brings together the top 10 cyber defense teams in the nation.  Having the ability to compete at this level is an honor in itself.  The level of competition is fierce.  Seeing UCF bring home the Alamo Cup, the 1st Place trophy, is priceless.”

“We are very proud of our two interns who worked so hard and won this challenging competition” said Michael Volk, Managing Partner at GuidePoint Security. “Congratulations to all who made it and to all who participated!”

About GuidePoint Security, LLC
GuidePoint Security provides customized, innovative and valuable information security solutions and proven cyber security expertise that enable commercial and federal organizations successfully achieve their security and business goals. By embracing new technologies, GuidePoint Security helps our clients recognize the threats, understand the solutions, and mitigate the risks present in their evolving IT environments. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, and with offices in Michigan, New Hampshire, Florida and North Carolina, GuidePoint Security is a small business and classification can be found with the System for Award Management (SAM). Learn more at www.guidepointsecurity.com.