Competition challenges students to think like IT professionals

An upcoming college competition will test students' abilities to defend a simulated small company's servers against possible security threats and attacks.

The National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, sponsored by Raytheon, involves students from 160 schools, who, from April 25 to 27, will be challenged to design and defend their own network with seven to 10 servers.

Every team receives the same hardware and software and is scored based on their ability to detect and respond to threats while maintaining existing services. Additionally, they must still respond to business requests, such as adding or removing services, and continue to balance security and business needs.

Traffic generators also send simulated user traffic into the network. A volunteer team acts as an external threat, which challenges the teams to defend themselves against live opponents.

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