Feeds

Cybersecurity contests go national

Those dratted kids

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The interest comes as companies increasingly face a variety of threats posed by online attackers. In May, antispam firm Blue Security got chased off the Internet by an irate spammer that attacked the company's Web site, service network, affiliates and clients. Several security groups warned companies that a previously unknown flaw in Microsoft Word was being actively exploited to attack specific companies. These attacks build on a particularly bad year for privacy in 2005, when more than 52 million consumer accounts were placed at risk.

While academics, security experts and government officials have previously discussed turning ad-hoc hacking contests into a more formal competition, the seed for the idea failed to take root outside of the military until a workshop held at University of Texas in San Antonio in the spring of 2004.

Called together by Lance Hoffman, a computer science professor at George Washington University, and Ronald Dodge, a Lt. Colonel and professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a group of computer-security professors and graduate students discussed the future of such exercises.

Everyone agreed that the competitions should be formalized, but one participant - Greg B. White, director of the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) at the University of Texas at San Antonio - feared that the process would stall.

"The first thing that happens when you get a bunch of academics together is they want to form a committee," White said. "We - three schools in Texas - decided to jump start the process and have a regional competition."

Along with Texas A&M and UT Austin, White created a regional Texas competition pitting five schools against each other in a three-day competition in April 2005. Taking lessons from the military's CDX competitions, the annual Capture the Flag tournament at DEFCON, and a few smaller academic exercises across the country, the universities decided to create a defense-focused contest, and called it the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

The main focus of the collegiate competition, as well as the high school contest, is locking down an insecure business network in the face of an attack.

"When students come in, they are given a network that is up and running, but we don't guarantee that it is secure," White said. "When a student graduates and joins the commercial sector, that is what they are going to face most likely - an insecure network."

Both the college and high-school competitions use a neutral team of attackers, known as a Red Team, to represent online criminals that might infiltrate a company's network. An automated scoring system keeps track of the reliability of any services required by the current scenario, the success in detecting and mitigating an attack, and special bonuses for meeting seemingly random business goals from the fictitious company's management.

Random events also spice up the competition, said Doug Jacobson, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering for Iowa State, who ran the High School Cyber Defense Competition.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.