Cyber Defense Competitions



National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition


The Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) program provides institutions with an information assurance or computer security curriculum a controlled, competitive environment to assess their student's depth of understanding and operational competency in managing the challenges inherent in protecting a corporate network infrastructure and business information systems.

Students assume administrative and protective duties for an existing “commercial” network – typically a small company with 50+ users, 7 to 10 servers, and common Internet services such as a web and mail server and an e-commerce site. Each team begins the competition with an identical set of hardware and software and is scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain availability of existing services, respond to requests such as the addition or removal of services, and balance security needs against business needs. A team of volunteers provide the “external threat” all Internet-based services face and allows the teams to match their defensive skills against live opponents.

CCDC Events are designed to build a meaningful mechanism by which institutions of higher education may evaluate their programs. CCDC also provides an educational venue in which students are able to apply the theory and practical skills they have learned in their course work. Teamwork, ethical behavior, and effective communication skills are fostered to create interest and awareness among participating institutions and students.

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CyberPatriot is the premire national high school cyber defense competition that is designed to give hands on exposure to the foundations of cyber security. CyberPatriot is not a hacking competition. CyberPatiot's goal is to excite students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

In each competition round, students are provided one to three virtual machines. These virtual machines can have Windows or GNU/Linux Operating systems and contain several vulnerabilities. The students are given a set amount of time on the competition day to secure the machines. Teams that fix the most vulnerabilities pass on to the next round, and the winners of all three rounds compete in the National Championships in Washington, D.C.

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Panoply, a Network Security Competition, is a network assessment and network defense competition combined into a single event. Teams of students compete for control of common resources and the critical services on those resources. Once a team takes possession of a resource, they must secure that resource against attacks from other teams and maintain the critical services running on the resource. Teams accumulate points for controlling and operating critical services such as SMTP, DNS, HTTP, HTTPS, SSH, and so on.

Panoply is a timed competition event. At the beginning of the competition, common resources are available for teams to scan, assess, and penetrate. To claim ownership of a service, teams must plant their flag, an assigned hexadecimal string, inside the banner of the service. An automated scanner detects ownership changes and awards ownership of the service to the team whose flag appears in the service banner. At random intervals, an automated scoring engine checks the status and functionality of all critical services. If a team has ownership of a functional critical service during a successful service check, that team is awarded points for owning and maintaining a critical service. Teams accumulate points for each critical service they control and continue to accumulate points as long as they own and maintain those critical services. Teams that fail to secure resources and services they have captured may have them taken away by rival teams. Throughout the competition new resources are added to the common pool,forcing teams to choose between defending existing assets and going after new assets. The team with the highest point total at the end of the competition wins.


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