University of Virginia wins 2020 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Championship
Students protected fictional automotive parts corporation against cyber-attacks in the midst of a global pandemic
ARLINGTON, Va (May 28, 2020) — University of Virginia prevailed over nine other finalist teams to win the 2020 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition and the coveted Alamo Cup. The national championship, sponsored by Raytheon Intelligence and Space, a Raytheon Technologies business (NYSE: RTX), was held in an entirely virtual setting for the first time in its 15 year history from May 22-23.
Hosted by The University of Texas San Antonio Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security, the revised virtual setting did not phase the University of Virginia team as they protected the network of a fictional automotive parts corporation and claimed the title of champion over nine other finalist collegiate teams.
The 2020 NCCDC theme set up shop around a fictional automotive parts corporation specializing in performance parts designed with proprietary research and development. The collegiate competitors were tasked to manage the company’s “home office” as well as multiple cloud and remote office systems all while protecting intellectual property, customer data, and employee records. The competing teams were then required to design and build a remote infrastructure to support critical services in case their primary network went down. It was a fairly straightforward task, but in the real world there are multiple variables that pose threats and risks to business as usual. Enter NCCDC’s unique twist to the challenge - a dedicated team of white hat hackers intent on disrupting the competitor’s systems and a looming global pandemic causing the teams to shelter-in-place.
“Cybersecurity is not only about protecting networks, it’s about protecting our way of life,” said Teresa Shea, Vice President of Cyber Offensive and Defensive Experts at Raytheon Intelligence and Space. “Congratulations to University of Virginia and all of the 2020 NCCDC teams who competed in this year’s unprecedented event. I encourage each of them to continue their pursuit of cybersecurity excellence.”
More than 240 colleges and universities competed to test their cybersecurity prowess. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some regional competitions were quickly restructured to continue in a virtual environment that was comprised of multiple stages and a single-elimination wild card round. Ten finalists emerged from the regional competitions and moved on to the national championship.
Now in its 15th year, NCCDC was the first to test cyber defense skills in a collegiate competition modeled after real-world business scenarios. Seeing the practical applications of cyber defense skills encourages more students to pursue cybersecurity careers, displaying the continued demand for more cyber engineers to accommodate the need in the workforce.
“For the past seven years, Raytheon Technologies has teamed with the NCCDC to provide college students from across the country the opportunity to test their skills at protecting business networks against cyber threats,” said Dwayne Williams, Director of the National CCDC and Associate Director at the CIAS. “The CIAS has had the privilege of creating and fostering an environment that helps develop these students’ technical, leadership and teamwork skills that are highly prized by any organization. In addition to being the title sponsor, Raytheon Technologies supports these efforts by providing a variety of specialized technical resources, mentors, and employee volunteers to further develop the students’ skills.”
University of Virginia was the top finish securing the coveted Alamo Cup. In second place was University of Central Florida, and Stanford University placed third. The top 10 finalist schools that competed in NCCDC and won their respective regional competitions as follows:
- At-Large: University of Central Florida
- Mid-Atlantic: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- Mid-West: DePaul University
- Northeast: Rochester Institute of Technology
- Pacific Rim: University of Washington, Seattle
- Rocky Mountain: Red Rocks Community College
- Southeast: Kennesaw State University
- Southwest: University of Tulsa
- Western: Stanford University
- Wildcard: University of Virginia
Shea, a trailblazer in her own professional cyber career, recognizes the value of opening the doors to cyber opportunities. “Now more than ever is an exciting time to be in the cyber business with new and diverse opportunities for challenging and rewarding careers. These careers allow people to make a difference for our Nation’s security and to learn something new every day,” Shea said.
Sponsors of NCCDC include government agencies, colleges and commercial companies. When feasible, Raytheon Technologies will bring the winning team to Washington, D.C. to tour and meet with leaders from some of the nation's top research and national cybersecurity sites at a later date.
About the National CCDC
Hosted by the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) system provides institutions with an information assurance or computer security curriculum a controlled, competitive environment to assess their student’s depth of understanding and operational competency in managing the challenges inherent in protecting a corporate network infrastructure and business information systems. For more information, visit NCCDC.org.
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About Raytheon Intelligence & Space
Raytheon Intelligence & Space delivers the disruptive technologies our customers need to succeed in any domain, against any challenge. A developer of advanced sensors, training, and cyber and software solutions, Raytheon Intelligence & Space provides a decisive advantage to civil, military and commercial customers in more than 46 countries around the world. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the business generated $15 billion in pro forma annual revenue in 2020 and has 37,000 employees worldwide. Raytheon Intelligence & Space is one of four businesses that form Raytheon Technologies Corporation.