Cyber Defense Competition Spotlights Emerging Field of Cyber Security

Cyber Defense Competition Spotlights Emerging Field of Cyber Security
Dan Manson, professor of Computer Information Systems, with student Steve Ramos.

The demand has never been higher for trained experts who can protect our personal privacy, even the safety of our country, from criminals who lurk in


Cal Poly Pomona's Computer Information Systems department is once again leading the way in educating the next generation of cyber security experts. On March 28-30, the department will host the Western Regional Cyber Defense Competition at the university's campus. Eight-member student teams from Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino, Sacramento State and Mt. San Antonio College will vie for a spot in next months national competition at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“Our hosting of the first Western Regional CCDC emphasizes the Cal Poly Pomona learn-by-doing approach to education, and our strong partnerships with industry and government agencies in the important area of cyber security,” said Dan Manson, professor of Computer Information Systems in the College of Business Administration.

During the three days of the competition, students will pretend to be network

administrators for a fictional company. While students perform routine tasks such as establishing employee e-mail accounts, a group of industry experts will attempt to threaten the computer infrastructure of each team. Opposing sides will engage a war games scenario of attack and protect. The team that was able to provide the most security to their network will win the competition.

During breaks from competition, students will get to meet with industry experts in cyber security. Also, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley will make the opening keynote address at 12 p.m. on Friday, March 28. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitch Dembin will deliver closing remarks at 9 a.m. on Sunday, March 30.

Since 2004, the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition has been giving students a glimpse of the pressures and demands of securing a network in the real world. This year, there are six regional competitions and nearly 100 schools throughout the country are expected to compete. This is the first year that the competition has offered a regional qualifying event in the Western United States.

Cal Poly Pomona is the only university in Southern California that has been designated an Academic Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Late last year, the university was a co-recipient of a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to enhance its cyber security curriculum.

The Western Regional Cyber Defense Competition is sponsored by McAfee with additional support from International High Technology Crime Investigation Association, Information Systems Audit and Control Association, Microsoft, The Aerospace Corporation, Ernst & Young, Information Systems Security Association, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Regional Information Systems Security Center, and the Center for Information Assurance.

For more information on the Western Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, go to