Teams from several Michigan colleges will compete in the Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Network Invitational onSaturday, November 1, 2014. Baker College (Clinton, Flint & Jackson campuses), Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Henry Ford Community College, Jackson College and University of Detroit Mercy will all have teams competing in the cyber security event.

The all-day competition will feature 150 virtual machines and 12 computer networks, with the collegiate teams working to secure their networks while maintaining business functionality. The teams will participate in the competition via web interface, using the virtual infrastructure of the Michigan Cyber Range.

The Michigan Cyber Range, powered by Merit Network, is sponsoring the event and supplying the virtual environment where the competition will take place. Merit's Secure Sandbox simulates a real-world networked environment with virtual machines, however, it is completely isolated and secure. This ensures that the students can explore and experiment in a virtual world, without compromising their campus networks.

The Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Network (MCCDN) is a group comprised of network engineers, security experts and educators who volunteer their time to advance cyber defense education in the state of Michigan. "The goal of the MCCDN is to increase awareness of cyber security issues, advance skills and build a strong cyber security industry in Michigan by training its future professionals," said Jacob Brabbs, a cyber security analyst for Merit Network. Brabbs is the lead network & systems engineer for MCCDN.

On the morning of the event, each student team will be provided with identical systems, containing the overall architecture and network configuration for the invitational. The configuration for the November 1, 2014 invitational will include a virtual Cisco router, a first for a MCCDN competition. Each team is expected to keep their network operational, prevent unauthorized access, and accurately identify compromises and compromise attempts.

Upon completion of the invitational, one team will be deemed the winner. Scores are based on a team's ability to keep critical systems running, the number of service requests completed, incident response techniques and mitigation planning.

The MCCDN Invitational is an opportunity for educational institutions in the state of Michigan to practice cyber security skills in a competitive environment and have those skills evaluated by industry experts, improving the cyber defense workforce of the future.