NORWOOD -- Brian Seifert of Norwood was part of the winning cyber defense team from the Rochester Institute of Technology at the recent 2013 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.
After being bested in the competition finals both of the last two years, the RIT team took home the first place trophy for the first time ever this year.
Seifert is a third-year computing security student.
RIT competed against nine other regional winners at the national competition, held April 19-21 in San Antonio.
In RIT's fourth trip to nationals in six years, the student team beat second-place Dakota State University and third-place Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
In this year's scenario, students were asked to take over the IT department of a correctional facility. The teams had to keep network systems and web services up, complete service requests, defend the network and systems from attacking security experts and provide customer support to “relatives” of inmates.
"Superstars don't really help in this type of competition," says Bo Yuan, an associate professor and coach of the RIT student team. "It requires coordinated effort to distribute workload wisely and evenly, and takes a disciplined approach to share information and complete tasks on time."
During the two-day competition, teams work straight from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. fending off cyber attacks while also completing other tasks.
"Our students understand the technologies involved, but also know how to work as a team to accomplish goals that are too large for any single individual," says Andrew Sears, dean of RIT's college of computing and information sciences. "We created a new department of computing security this year to provide a focal point for these very activities and to highlight the opportunities that exist for students interested in cyber security."