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Students beat hackers to win competition

A team of Northeastern University students has successfully battled a professional team of computer hackers to win the 2009 Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC). The students, from the Information Assurance program of Northeastern’s College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS), designed, configured and implemented a secure corporate-grade IT network that managed to fight off attempts of unauthorized intrusion.

The information security competition focuses on operational aspects of protecting systems from external attackers while still maintaining existing services such as mail, web, and e-commerce. Competing teams include colleges and universities with information assurance or computer security curricula.

During the three-day event, the teams assume administrative and protective duties for an existing “commercial” network – typically a small company with 50-plus users, seven to 10 servers, and common Internet services such as a web server, mail server and e-commerce site. Each team is given an identical set of hardware and software and is scored on its ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain availability of existing services, respond to business requests and balance security needs against business needs.

Led by Kevin Amorin, a CCIS lecturer in the Information Assurance program, the winning team comprised students Ashrith Barthur, Scott Doliner, Ken Eimer, Marc Held, Weiwei Hu, Will Nowak, and Shawn Smith.

“Northeastern was well represented at this year’s competition,” said Amorin. “The team met weekly from November through February to practice for CCDC and the preparation paid off with a big win. We look forward to competing in the national competition and hope to keep the momentum going!”

Northeasternhas beeninvited tocompete against the other seven regional winnerson April 17-19,at the National CCDC competition in San Antonio, Texas.

For more information on Northeastern’s College of Computer and Information Science and graduate program in Information Assurance, visit: http://www.ccs.neu.edu/ and http://www.ccs.neu.edu/graduate/msia.html.

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