Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

12-15-05

Contacts:

Ben Blakely, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 306-3408

Andrew Pease, Management Information Systems, (515) 520-7879

Greg Rice, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 441-0153

Bryan Venteicher, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (641) 780-3377

Doug Jacobson, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 294-8307

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917

Iowa State students defend their cyber defense title

AMES, Iowa -- Armed with a plan, some experience and a pair of wire cutters, members of Team Alpha successfully defended their title in Iowa State University's Cyber Defense Competition.

This fall's win qualifies the team -- Ben Blakely, a sophomore from Alleman; Greg Rice, a doctoral student from Honey Brook, Penn.; Andrew Pease, a junior from Princeton, Ill.; and Bryan Venteicher, a junior from Pella -- for a regional computer security competition at Iowa State. That competition will be during the spring semester but a date has yet to be set.

Doug Jacobson, an Iowa State associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and a competition organizer, said the winners managed to keep a team of attacking computer professionals out of their network for the competition's 18 hours.

The winners were organized, Jacobson said. They had a good plan. And they were able to execute that plan.

Blakely, Pease and Venteicher were part of the team that won last spring's first Cyber Defense Competition at Iowa State. Pease said that experience helped the team know what to expect this time around. He also said the spring competition made other teams harder to beat because they knew what to expect, too.

Venteicher said he signed up for the competition because he enjoys setting up computer systems. Blakely said the competition offers students a chance to learn outside their textbooks. And Rice said the competition offers real-world challenges.

One of those challenges is developing strategies for protecting information on older computer systems vulnerable to attacks. Rice said Team Alpha was able to safeguard one older operating system by snipping the wires that send information back to the network. That way the system could still get data from the network, but it couldn't talk back to the network -- or to hackers searching for a way in.

That strategy helped the team advance to regional competition. And can Team Alpha keep on winning at that level?

"That's our goal," Pease said. "We hope we will."

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Quick look

A team of Iowa State University students recently won the second Cyber Defense Competition at Iowa State by foiling every attack from a group of computer professionals.

Quote

"That's our goal. We hope we will."

Andrew Pease, an Iowa State junior studying Management Information Systems, when asked whether his cyber defense team will win a regional competition next semester