FLINT TWP. — The township board presented a certificate achievement to the Baker College of Flint cyber defense team for winning the 2016 Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC).
Baker-Flint President Wen Hemingway was on hand at the recognition along with Doug Witten, Baker College of Flint associate dean of computer information systems; Greg Kent, computer technology instructor; and John Neiling, Genesee School District IT director, adjunct instructor and lead advisor for the team.
The team advanced to the CCDC Midwest regional competition, which was won by DePaul University of Illinois who moved on to compete in the national championship
The Baker team has won two national championships – in 2008 and in 2009, Witten said. “We are computer geeks. We excel at this stuff; it is our passion,” he said.
All members of the winning Baker College team are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in cyber defense, according to a press release. They are: Jeffrey Matter, of Clyde, Ohio, team captain
Noah Bliss, of Hartland
Chris Franklin, of Whitehouse, Ohio
Sean Julian, of Lapeer
Josh Baxter, of Lake Orion
Greg Kempf, of Pettisville, Ohio
Fred Perakovic, of Flint
Brandon Hartwell, of Lapeer
The winning team and a second team from Baker College of Flint were among 11 competitors at the state event in March hosted by Davenport University, Grand Rapids.
To practice for the competition, members from both teams committed and volunteered approximately 20 hours a week beginning mid-November. They continuously competed to gain membership on the “A” team. Witten said that the Baker College curriculum provides an advantage to the students. Baker is one of few colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in Cyber Defense, he said.
Instruction is half lecture and half lab with many hands-on drills. Students are able to gain knowledge and develop specific skill sets necessary to accomplish the goals.
Each competitive event begins with students setting up their networked systems. Then they spend an hour protecting their applications, which are booby-trapped. The event then starts as tasks or injections, which can be already compromised.
The students prepared for close to 100 injections. Next, a team of professional “white hat” hackers attack the systems to find vulnerable portions to exploit. Different this year, only two of the hackers were onsite; the remaining eight launched their attacks from around the United States.
“Our team was able to think on its feet and to adjust tactics and strategies at a moment’s notice, said Neiling. “This is why we were able to come out on top; this is exactly what we have trained for during the last few quarters.”
The competition is organized by the Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Network, a group of network engineers, security experts and educators working together to improve cyber defense education in the state of Michigan. The group designs and holds competitions to increase and advance cyber defense students’ knowledge and joins with other state groups to expand competition.(front, second left) was among faculty accompanying winning cyber defense team to township board recognition.