UMBC’s Cyberdawgs win 2015 Maryland Cyber Challenge

The UMBC’s Cyberdawgs have emerged victorious from the finals of the 2015 Maryland Cyber Challenge (MCC), winning the top prize for a student team with a total of 18,979 points and outscoring the professional division’s winning team by more than 5,500 points.

UMBC’s winning Cyberdawgs 1 team included Tyler Campbell ‘16, computer science; Josh Domangue ‘16, computer science; Chris Gardner ‘18, computer science and mathematics; Anh Ho ‘17, computer science; Jacob Rust ‘16, computer science; and Julio Valcarcel ‘16, information systems, all members of the UMBC Cyber Defense Team. The UMBC team Cyberdawgs 2 also participated in the final round of the challenge.

The final round of competition began on October 28, but was paused due to technical difficulties. The contest resumed on Saturday, February 20, 2016, and the Cyberdawgs hit the ground running.

“We are delighted that the competition was able to finish, and are very pleased that we were able to do as well as we did,” said Charles Nicholas, professor of computer science and electrical engineering (CSEE). Nicholas is a faculty adviser of the Cyber Defense Team, with Richard Forno, assistant director of the UMBC Center for Cybersecurity and director of the cybersecurity graduate program.

Approximately 25 teams from colleges and universities across the state qualified for the semifinals of the challenge. Two of the eight teams that moved on to the finals were from UMBC, representing the maximum number allowed from an individual university.

The annual MCC competition offers participants the opportunity to complete hands-on cybersecurity challenges, and allows teams to test their ability to break into a target machine and secure the machine against other teams’ attacks.  

“The Maryland Cyber Challenge is one of several competitions that I enjoy because we get to compete as a team. Participating in this competition is a great deal of fun because we get to learn new skills every year and always come away with new ways of thinking about cybersecurity issues,” said Valcarcel.

The Cyber Defense Team is looking forward to participating in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) in the spring. Last year, UMBC placed fourth overall at NCCDC.

Image: A computer circuit board. Photo by Harland Quarrington, CC BY-NC 2.0