The USC Cyber Defense Team placed second at the 2016 Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition in Charleston on April 10, 2016. This annual competition between eight SC colleges and universities is designed to challenge the students to keep a virtual network of computers and devices secure while a "red team" of computer attackers is trying to compromise them. In this year's scenario, the students were tasked with defending a medical supply company's digital assets while maintaining business operations (delivering medical supplies to four virtual hospitals by deploying a fleet of supply trucks through an online interface.) They also had to perform digital investigations of malicious files using forensic techniques.
This competition tests six students' abilities to communicate and work as a team, as well as their technical skills and abilities to adapt and learn new technologies on the fly. "It's like juggling biting geese, while balancing on a beach ball rolling down a steep 2-inch wide ramp - as a team. And you've juggled before, but never with biting geese, so you have to learn that technique as you go," says mentor Ronni Wilkinson. One rock star team member, Dylan Madisetti, rewrote the truck management application so that it automatically deployed the supply trucks where they were needed without human intervention. He put his automated application on a computer that the red team was not attacking, so that when the rest of the network went down, the virtual hospitals were still getting their supplies.
Students really appreciate competitions like this because they test the skills that they are going to be using later in the workplace when they graduate. Clemson University came in first place, while the Citadel took third.