BYU students repel 100% of attacks and take first at regional competition

BYU Information Technology students took first place at the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) at the National Information Assurance Training and Education Center at Idaho State University. In addition to the honor of taking first, each member of the four-person team will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the NSA.

The competition involved going head-to-head against five other teams to maintain services, handle injects and defend against a barrage of red-team attacks from professional penetration testers.  Students were presented a small-business heath care merger scenario and had to combine different IT networks in the process. The BYU IT team was the only team to successfully resist all of the attacks throughout the day-long engagement.

“Our team was very organized, and communicated really well,” said Scott Pack, a graduate student. “This made us effective in tracking what was done, what needed to be done, and having access to each other’s knowledge when we ran into problems we couldn't solve individually. “

The first place team included graduate student Scott Pack, senior Joel Wenerstrom and juniors Chandler Newby and Laura Wilkinson. A second BYU team of IT students competed and received third place.  This team included graduate student Jed Montgomery, juniors Taylor Buerger and Brendan Abbott, and sophomore Sarah Cunha. Both teams are coached by Dr. Dale Rowe, assistant professor in information technology.

The students involved in the cyber-competition teams also volunteer regularly to help secure departments across the BYU campus and local businesses.

“As a CSRL member you're expected to both learn from others and teach what you know,” said Pack. “This makes for a group that is well-versed in security topics and capable of tackling challenges in the industry.”

To learn more about the national collegiate competition, visit

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