More geeks under attack in cybersecurity contest

SEATTLE - On March 19 - 20, the University of Washington will present the fourth annual Pacific Rim Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (PRCCDC), also known as "Geeks Under Attack!" The competition asks teams of aspiring cybersecurity professionals to demonstrate their skill at protecting an enterprise network infrastructure and business information systems.

Date: March 19-20, 2011

Location: Highline Community College, Building 30

By the de-brief session on Saturday afternoon competing students will have gained insight into the challenges cybersecurity professionals encounter every day and the level of sophistication of threats to an organization's sensitive information. It is a bridge from the classroom to practice but also a proving ground that gets the attention of industry sponsors.

"This is our fourth year holding this regional competition and we have more than 80 students participating from 10 institutions of higher education in the Northwest," said Dr. Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, Director of the Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at the UW Information School. "We have schools and just as importantly, practitioners and researchers from throughout the region who come back every year because this is the type of experience that is nearly impossible to duplicate in the classroom."

Contestants compete against their peers and those already working professionally in the cybersecurity field. The contest lasts two days, with the winner advancing to the national competition.

During the contest, each student team is presented with a pre-configured networked infrastructure of a fictitious company that they are tasked to operate. A "Red Team" of attackers attempts to vandalize and break into the network. The student teams need to defend against the attacks of the Red Team. The attackers are professionals familiar with the challenges cybersecurity professionals face every day.

PRCCDC is co-sponsored by The Boeing Company, Microsoft and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) with additional support from the Central Intelligence Agency, Deloitte Touche, IOActive, City University of Seattle, the Committee on National Security Systems and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories. Volunteers from DeVry University, Highline Community College, Idaho State University, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Whatcom Community College are providing support and infrastructure.

The event is hosted by Highline Community College and the University of Washington Information School's Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity (CIAC). CIAC is one of three institutions on the West Coast distinguished as both a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security.

"The teams who perform well at this event always demonstrate just how important leadership and teamwork are when working to protect systems," said Endicott-Popovsky. "And the teams that are successful in the event also know how to communicate effectively about those challenges with their teammates. It's going to take that kind of collaborative effort to develop the transformational cybersecurity solutions we need."

Competing students come from the University of Washington in Seattle, the Institute of Technology at the University of Washington in Tacoma, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, Highline Community College, Lewis and Clark College, and Whatcom Community College.

The goals of the event are to:

• Build a meaningful mechanism by which institutions of higher education may evaluate their programs.

• Provide an educational venue in which students are able to apply the theory and practical skills they have learned in their course work;

• Foster a spirit of teamwork, ethical behavior, and effective communication both within and across teams; and

• Create interest and awareness among participating institutions and students.

About the Event Partners

The Boeing Company
Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. Additionally, Boeing designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. The company also provides numerous military and commercial airline support services. Boeing has customers in more than 90 countries around the world and is one of the largest U.S. exporters in terms of sales.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

The Space and Naval War Systems Command (SPAWAR) designs, develops and deploys advanced communications and information capabilities. SPAWAR delivers solutions that give Navy, joint and coalition forces the winning edge, from strategic-level decision makers to tactical-level operators. With more than 12,000 professionals located around the world and close to the fleet, Team SPAWAR is at the forefront of research, engineering, acquisition and support services that provide vital decision superiority to our forces at the right time and at the right cost.

Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an independent US Government agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers.

"Deloitte" is the brand under which tens of thousands of dedicated professionals in independent firms throughout the world collaborate to provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services to selected clients.

With a globally connected network of Member Firms in 140 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and deep local expertise to help clients succeed wherever they operate. Deloitte's 169,000 professionals are committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

Established in 1998, IOActive is an industry leader that offers comprehensive computer security services with specializations in smart grid technologies, software assurance, and compliance. Boasting a well-rounded and diverse clientele, IOActive works with a majority of Global 500 companies including power and utility, hardware, retail, financial, media, aerospace, high-tech, and software development organizations.

City University of Seattle
Founded in 1973 in Seattle, Washington, City University of Seattle is a private, not-for-profit university that has awarded over 45,000 degrees and certificates worldwide. City University of Seattle's goal is to change lives for good by offering high quality and relevant online and in-class education options to any person in the world with a desire to learn. The university is comprised of The School of Management, The Gordon Albright School of Education, and The Division of Arts and Sciences. Headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, City University of Seattle offers classes at locations throughout Washington, Hawaii, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Slovakia, Greece, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic and China.

Committee on National Security Systems
The CNSS is a committee with representation from 21 U.S. Government Executive Branch Departments and Agencies. In addition to the 21 Members there are representatives serving as Observers from 11 additional organizations. The CNSS provides a forum for the discussion of policy issues; sets national policy; and promulgates direction, operational procedures, and guidance for the security of national security systems.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratories
PNNL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) ten national laboratories, managed by DOE's Office of Science. PNNL also performs research for other DOE offices as well as government agencies, universities, and industry to deliver breakthrough science and technology to meet today's key national needs.