McKendree Cyber Defense Team Makes Impressive Debut in Competition

Scores in Top 5 at Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Event

(LEBANON, Ill., February 20, 2018) — In an impressive debut, McKendree University's new 117th Regiment Cyber Defense Team finished in the top five at the Midwest Regional Cyber Defense Competition, held at Moraine Valley Community College in Chicago, Feb. 17-18.

During a collegiate cyber defense competition, each student group manages and protects a mock commercial network against a red team of “hackers” who try to take it down. Teams are judged on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats as they maintain availability of their network's web and mail servers, and balance security needs against business needs.

The 11 participating teams at the regional event included the University of Illinois, Illinois State, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, DePaul, Governors State and Lewis University, as well as four community colleges. Competing for McKendree University were Alyssa Koston, Essence White, Gavin Martin, Jared Roulds-Griffin, Kevin Magee, Sean Fulton, Zachary Middendorff and Robert Watkins.

“The team was amazing,” said George Kriss, the McKendree University’s director of information technology, who coaches the cyber defense team with Dr. C.J. Dulaney, assistant professor of computing. “Morale was high the entire time. We had a great experience but when we found we came in in the top five, we were elated.”

Established four months ago, the McKendree cyber defense team is named after the 117th Illinois Regiment, drawing from the university's Civil War heritage and the McKendreans who formed the 117th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers in the mid-19th century.

The team is preparing for the Department of Energy Cyber Defense Competition at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, April 6-7.