A team of Texas A&M Aggies won the Sixth Annual Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) in March.

This is Texas A&M’s fifth win of the Southwestern Regional Competition. The team is now preparing for the national competition to be held April 16-18 in San Antonio.

The team members were Travis Carr (general studies); Nick Mai (computer engineering, electrical engineering track); Captain Matthew Mullins (computer engineering); Luke Murray (computer engineering, computer science track); Ankur Nandwani (computer science and engineering graduate student); Robert “Red” Schumacher (computer engineering, computer science track); Kyle Willmon (computer science); and Sandeep Yadav (computer engineering graduate student).

Texas A&M hosted the contest during spring break in the Bright Building. This three-day competition brought together 52 students from seven universities to compete for a seat at the national CCDC competition.

During his opening address, Willis Marti, director of networking at Texas A&M and competition host said, “This competition is all about defense. Attackers only need one good day, but defenders are charged with constantly protecting the network.”

CCDC is truly a defensive competition. Teams of eight students are given a “corporate” network of computers and asked to defend it from the Red Team, network security professionals that act as attackers. In addition to defending the network, student teams must maintain the services needed for a business to run, and complete tasks requested by “Management.”

This competition requires a lot of planning and organization. Texas A&M employees completed tasks common to event planning, such as finding sponsors, organizing meals, and creating schedules. This competition also required detailed network planning to create seven identical networks and integrate them into the central network for scoring.

The University of Tulsa took second and the four-member Texas A&M-Commerce team took third.