The Cal Poly Pomona cyber defense team has earned a coveted spot in the 2016 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition after winning the western regional finals.
Cal Poly Pomona students defeated teams from universities that included Stanford and UC Berkeley in a two-day competition on March 18 and19 at Fairplex.
At the competition, student teams were tasked with securing and maintaining servers and workstations, managing data, administering users, and performing common business-related and administrative tasks while fending off attacks from a live opposition team.
These are the same kind of headline-making attacks that have infiltrated computer networks at major retailers, corporations, social networks and financial institutions.
“It is critical that we as a nation need to foster the next generation of cyber talent to help secure our country from cyber threats,” said Dwayne Williams, director of the national competition.
The Cal Poly Pomona team’s performance has it returning to the national finals after a two-year absence; it finished second to UC Berkeley in consecutive regional competitions. Cal Poly Pomona teams have represented the western region in the national competition for three consecutive years and four times in five years between 2009 and 2013.
Cal Poly Pomona joins a field of 10 teams from colleges and universities that will compete in the national finals April 22-24 in San Antonio, Texas.
The team is coached by Assistant Professor Ron Pike of the computer information systems department at the College of Business Administration.
“The CCDC competition is the truest test of students’ cybersecurity skills as it represents the challenges and pressures of a live security breach which augments related coursework,” Pike said. “The team’s outstanding performance is a wonderful reflection on the learn-by-doing environment at Cal Poly Pomona and on the many hours of hard work members invest in their year-round training schedule.”
The 2015-16 team consists of students from the colleges of Business Administration and Science. They are Joe Needleman, Chris Fiorille, Juan Ortega, David Vidal, Henry Ammermann, Charles Chong, Aric Forrest and Jose Ybanez.
The national competition is using an interactive tournament bracket