Carbondale, Il. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale will host a section of the annual Illinois Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition on Saturday, Feb. 20.
The "Security Dawgs," a registered student organization, will be trying to win a fourth state title. SIU is one of two sites that will host the statewide, 10-team competition, which mirrors what students will see in the corporate information technology world. Also competing at SIU Carbondale will be teams from John A. Logan College and Kaskaskia College.
The Security Dawgs have been practicing since the start of the fall 2015 semester, said Belle Woodward, an associate professor in Information Systems and Applied Technologies who is also the team's faculty adviser.
Johnathon M. Farmer, a junior from Rockford, is vice president of the student organization this year.
"It's almost like a family once the team comes together and we spend days and months working together toward a final goal," said Farmer, who has a double major in information systems technologies (IST) and technical resource management.
Cody Lingle, a senior from Sesser who is majoring in IST, said the Security Dawgs experience is an extension of what students learn in class, similar to an advanced class.
"The competition is by far the most exciting part of it," he said. "It's what you have worked all year for and prepared for, and when you are in the moment, it is you and your team."
While working to keep their site secure from hackers and unwanted cyber attacks, teams also are responsible for system maintenance, upgrades, and completing other requests, such as installing or upgrading a website. Teams earn points based upon the how successful they are at accomplishing the business tasks, in addition to identifying and stopping hacker attacks, and writing incident reports.
The top team in the state will advance to the Midwest regional competition, April 1-2, at Moraine Valley Community College to face the top teams from Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
The first place team in the Midwest will then advance to the ninth annual National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is April 22-24, in San Antonio, Texas.
SIU has won three state titles: 2006, 2013 and 2014. The team has finished second in the state five times: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2015.
Teams competing at Moraine Valley Community College are: Chicago ORT Technical Institute, DePaul University, DeVry University, Governors State University, Lewis University, Moraine Valley Community College, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.