Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

11-10-05

Contacts:

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

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

Viruses, worms and other attacks: A real-world computer game

AMES, Iowa -- This all-nighter will require constant vigilance.

Hackers will try just about anything to circumvent students' computer defenses. They'll launch attacks through network services or applications. They'll e-mail computer viruses. They'll try to do some damage with computer worms.

Twelve teams of four Iowa State University students each will do their best to counter every attack. It's all part of Iowa State's second Cyber Defense Competition. For 18 hours -- from 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, to noon Saturday, Nov. 19 -- the teams will compete to see who does the best job keeping their networks secure.

It won't be easy.

The attackers will be industry professionals from around central Iowa.

"We're going to try to give them as realistic of a test as possible," said Kip Peters, the enterprise information protection vice president for FBL Financial Group, Inc. of West Des Moines and the leader of the attacking team. "We'll come at them from a lot of different fronts."

Doug Jacobson, an Iowa State associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, said the competition will teach at least one real-world lesson.

"The hackers never sleep," he said. "Defending against them is a 24-hour-a-day process."

The student teams demonstrating the best defenses will win gift certificates and the chance to compete in a regional Cyber Defense Competition at Iowa State next spring.

The fall competition is sponsored by Iowa State's Information Assurance Center, Iowa State's Information Assurance Student Group and the Iowa Chapter of the FBI's InfraGard program that strives to protect national infrastructure. The competition will be at the Internet-Scale Event and Attack Generation Environment, a virtual Internet located in the Iowa State University Research Park in Building Two at 2625 North Loop Drive, Suite 2105.

The competition is free and open to the public.

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Quick look

Teams of Iowa State University students will defend their computer networks from hackers in a competition that stretches 18 hours.

Quote

"The hackers never sleep. Defending against them is a 24-hour-a-day process."

Doug Jacobson, an Iowa State associate professor of electrical and computer engineering