WWU team wins CyberDefense Competition

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 27, 2014 

A team from Western Washington University won the Pacific Rim Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition regional at Highline Community College in March and was to attend the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition this past weekend in San Antonio, Texas.

In the competition, the team is tasked with replacing the information technology team of a fictional company. They must carry on various business-related IT tasks while a team of pretend hackers made up of cybersecurity professionals from the military, government and industry attempts to disrupt the business.

This is the first time that Western has sent a team to the nationals, where it was to be in a field of 10 teams including squads from the University of California at Berkeley, the Air Force Academy and Southern Methodist University.

"The urgent and massive need for computer-security professionals has caught the government, industry and education sectors quite unprepared. Corporations such as Target are suddenly finding that large-scale compromise of their information systems and customers' personal data is not just an embarrassment, but a significant threat to their commercial viability," David Bover, associate dean of Western's College of Sciences and Technology, said in a press release.

Bover said there is currently a need for thousands of suitably qualified computer security professionals but very few colleges and universities in the nation have the faculty and academic programs to make a significant impact on this shortage in the workforce.

"There is no evidence that corporations in Washington State are any better prepared than Target," he said.

Western's team is made up of Katie Klions, Troy Tornow, Aaron Griffin, Tim Sargent, Mark Shipley, Rémi Gattaz, Michael Hennings and James Collins.

ALCOA OFFERS OSO AID

The Alcoa Foundation, affiliated with Alcoa Intalco Works aluminum smelter in Ferndale, has commited to a $30,000 grant to the American Red Cross to aid in immediate humanitarian assistance activities, according to a press release. In addition, Alcoa Foundation is matching Alcoa employee donations, dollar for dollar up to a total of $5,000, to the American Red Cross relief effort.

Out and About is published Mondays in The Bellingham Herald. Reach Executive Editor Julie Shirley at 360-715-2261 or julie.shirley@bellinghamherald.com.

Reach JULIE SHIRLEY at julie.shirley@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2261.

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