Cyber-defense competition simulates attack on hospital IT system

March 14, 2012 in Medical Technology

BALTIMORE – The Seventh Annual CyberWatch Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) takes place this week at Johns Hopkins University. This year, the competition focuses on the defense of a hospital IT system.

The CCDC takes place March 14 through 17, at the Kossiakoff Center, at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md.

Since 2006, the Community College of Baltimore County and White Wolf Security have collaborated to put on the CCDC, which is funded by CyberWatch, an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center (in turn funded by the National Science Foundation and located at Prince George’s Community College).

Officials say the CyberWatch Mid-Atlantic Regional CCDC, as part of the National CCDC, is unique in that it focuses on the operational challenges of managing and protecting an existing network infrastructure. Teams are physically co-located in the same building, and each is given physically identical computer configurations at the start of the competition.

Throughout the competition, these teams must ensure the systems supply specified services while under a mock attack. In addition, they’re also tasked with simulating the sorts of everyday business activities IT staff must deal with in the real world.

This year, the competition scenario revolves around the defense of a hospital IT System, reflecting the national priority placed on healthcare IT, say officials from Neustar, Inc., one of the competition’s sponsors.
Student teams are scored based on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats; maintain availability of existing services (e.g., e-mail servers); respond to business requests (e.g., add user accounts); and balance security needs against business needs.

Students from the following institutions are expected to attend the competition: Capitol College (Md.); Howard Community College (Md.); James Madison University (Va.); Millersville University (Pa.); Radford University (Va.); Towson University (Md.); University of Maryland Baltimore County; and West Virginia University.

The winner of the Mid-Atlantic CCDC will move on to represent the region in the National CCDC, April 20 through 22, in San Antonio, Texas.

“This competition gives our engineers the opportunity to share real-world cyber challenges and scenarios that these students will face in business,” said Mark Enstrom, a member of Neustar’s technical staff. “It also is a great opportunity for us to view potential job candidates using their skills, exhibiting teamwork and solving problems under stressful conditions.”

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