Students from several Michigan colleges will compete in the Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Network (MCCDN) State Qualifier at Davenport University in Grand Rapids on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Teams from Baker College (Clinton Township, Flint and Jackson campuses), Davenport University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, and Jackson College will be participating in the cybersecurity event. 

The MCCDN State Qualifier provides an opportunity for educational institutions in Michigan to practice cybersecurity skills in a competitive environment and have those skills evaluated by industry experts, improving the cyber defense workforce of the future. 

"We strive to bring new innovations to these events, in order to challenge the teams to learn and grow in ways that will help them throughout their careers," said Jacob Brabbs, a cybersecurity analyst for Merit Network. Brabbs is the lead network and systems engineer for the Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Network (MCCDN). 

At the start of the competition, each team of students will be provided with an identical complex network of fourteen virtual machines in a mixed environment of Windows, Linux, and networking devices. Each team is expected to keep the network operational, prevent unauthorized access, and accurately identify compromises and compromise attempts. 

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 computer network, 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. 

A red team of cybersecurity professionals will attack the virtual infrastructure of the collegiate teams to test the students' ability to secure and defend their resources. Each student team will also launch attacks against their competitors during the event. Scores will be based on a team's ability to keep critical systems running, the number of service requests completed, incident response techniques and mitigation planning. 

At completion of the event, one team will be named the winner and will move on to the Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition on March 27-28, 2015

The Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Network 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.