County represented in competition

Staff report

The cyber defense team celebrates with their trophy.

The cyber defense team celebrates with their trophy.

A Baker College of Flint cyber defense team has won the Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC). A team from Baker College of Jackson took second place.

The teams included Fulton County residents.

All members of the winning Baker College team are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in cyber defense. They are: Jeffrey Matter, Clyde, team captain; Noah Bliss, Hartland; Chris Franklin of Whitehouse; Sean Julian of Lapeer; Josh Baxter of Lake Orion; Greg Kempf of Pettisville; Fred Perakovic of Flint; and Brandon Hartwell of Lapeer.

The winning team and a second team from Baker College of Flint were among 11 competitors at the state event March 11-12, hosted by Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“We are tremendously proud that both of our teams worked hard to succeed in this extremely competitive event,” said Wen Hemingway, MBA, CTP, Baker College of Flint president. “It’s an excellent experience to help them develop superior job skills. It’s also a point of pride for us that Baker College students and instructors are playing an active and successful role in maintaining our future cyber security.”

Attending the team were advisors Doug Witten, Baker College of Flint associate dean of computer information systems; Greg Kent, computer technology instructor; and John Neiling, Genesee School District IT director, adjunct instructor and lead advisor for the team.

To practice for the competition, members from both teams committed and volunteered approximately 20 hours a week beginning mid November. They continuously competed to gain membership on the “A” team.

Witten said that the Baker College curriculum provides an advantage to the students. Instruction is half lecture and half lab, with many hands-on drills. Students are able to gain knowledge and develop specific skill sets necessary to accomplish the goals.

Each competitive event begins with students setting up their networked systems. Then they spend an hour protecting their applications, which are booby-trapped. The event then starts as tasks or injections, which can be already compromised. The students prepared for close to 100 injections. Next, a team of professional “white hat” hackers attack the systems to find vulnerable portions to exploit. In a different scenario this year, only two of the hackers were onsite; the remaining eight launched their attacks from around the United States.

“Our team was able to think on its feet and to adjust tactics and strategies at a moment’s notice,” said Neiling. “This is why we were able to come out on top; this is exactly what we have trained for during the last few quarters.”

Members of the Flint campus second team are: Jacoby Humphries of Howell, team captain; Nick Rendon, of Fremont; Reed Behnfeldt, of Wauseon; Lucas Brown of Hamler; Alexandra Jindra of Whitehouse; David Wilburn, of Port Clinton; Sam Billings, of Clyde; and Dan Printke, of Toledo.

“The students acquire a diverse knowledge in several IT areas,” said Kent. “This also holds true for our advising team, which allows us to prepare the students for many of the possibilities they may encounter within the tournament.”

Baker College campuses in Flint, Jackson, and Clinton townships have a successful history in this annual competition with each winning at least one state championship since 2008. Baker College of Flint has earned three state championships, and two regional and national crowns.

The competition is organized by the Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Network, a group of network engineers, security experts and educators working together to improve cyber defense education in the state of Michigan. The group designs and holds competitions to increase and advance cyber defense students’ knowledge and joins with other state groups to expand competition.

The cyber defense team celebrates with their trophy. cyber defense team celebrates with their trophy.

Staff report