University Students Win First Place During the ‘Panoply’ Cyber Security Competition

Published: October 17, 2013

University Students Win First Place During the ‘Panoply’ Cyber Security Competition

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Cyber Defense Team at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, which consists of 11 students, took first place at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense “Panoply” Competition, Oct. 5-6 in San Antonio.  This fast-paced, real-world competition gives students the chance to hack into a network of 50 servers and then defend it from other teams.

“Panoply is an intense competition that only lasts for six hours. Every five minutes a team is awarded one point for every system they are able to fix and defend,” said Steve Alves, Director of the Cyber Defense Lab at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Our Cyber Defense team won with 262 point while the second place accumulated only 218,”

The systems consist of resources that are available for all the teams to penetrate. Students test their ability to look at the system like a hacker would in order to identify weaknesses, fix the weaknesses, and then claim ownership of the service by planting their flag. Teams that do not secure their services may potentially have them taken away by other teams. Over the next six hours teams continue to battle for new resources which are continually added. At random times a scoring engine will look through the system and assign points based on how many services the team has managed to keep secure. The cyber battle ended well for the Island University when the Cyber Defense Team was able to maintain control over the most services.

With the hands-on experience the competition provides, the Cyber Defense Team caught the eye of a consulting firm from Illinois who is now interested in hiring three students for their own penetration testing team.