Cybersecurity Club advances to onsite regionals in SECCDC

Back row: (left to right) Steve Saint-Ulysse (technical support), Cody Confer, Clark Wood, Willis Rabon (judge). Front row: (left to right) Sarah Reecy, John Connor McLaughlin (captain), Angela Gibbons, Nicholas Clark, Jonathan Borrero, Ryan Kuhl (co-captain).

Florida State University’s Cybersecurity Club placed in the top eight of the preliminary round of the Southeast Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (SECCDC) on March 8, advancing to the onsite regional competition to be hosted by Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., on March 31-April 2.

The Cybersecurity Club is comprised of students from the School of Information and Department of Computer Science: John Connor McLaughlin (captain), Ryan Kuhl (co-captain), Nicholas Clark, Clark Wood, Cody Confer, Sara Reecy, Jonathan Borrero and Angela Gibbons.

“Cyber defense competitions are not only a great way to raise awareness of cybersecurity, but also become a playground for students to sharpen their understanding of safeguarding information systems and information assets,” Dr. Shuyuan Ho, assistant professor at the School of Information, said. “I am happy to see many more students involved in cybersecurity and CCI is excited about such an extra-curricula activity.”

Florida State competed against 17 teams from universities around the region competed in the qualifying round, who each defended their own virtual network.

“Cybersecurity becomes more complex as the interaction between humans and technology advances,” Ho said. “Information is precious but requires a very sophisticated approach to protect against misusers. It’s not possible to create a vault to lock down information like we protect gold in the bank. Once classified information is revealed and copied, it is forever compromised.”

Ho is the faculty advisor for the club, which was created in 2013.

“The interplay between cyber-criminals and cybersecurity professionals is a chess game that escalates regularly,” Ho said. “Cyber attacks morph and are forever changing. Solutions to counter cyber attacks are challenging; they require analytics, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

The Cybersecurity Club is grateful for the support of the following individuals: Willis Rabon (White Hat Judge), Jason Penley, Steve Saint-Ulysse (technical support) and Abigail Phillips, a doctoral student at the School of Information, who acted as the facilitator.

“CCI students have demonstrated for the second year that they can compete with the top schools,” Phillips said. “It was an honor to assist the Cybersecurity Club in their competition. They are a terrific group of students.”