Two-day event simulates business scenario cyberattack, draws eight university teams

March 07, 2019

Regis University will host the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (RMCCDC) this Friday and Saturday at its Denver Tech Center campus – the eighth year for both the competition and the University’s hosting.

The competition allows teams to test their cybersecurity skills, knowledge and abilities. The top-performing team will represent the Rocky Mountain region at the national competition in Orlando, Fla.

A preliminary qualifying round held in January narrowed the competition to the top eight teams: Regis University, Colorado State University, the University of New Mexico, LDS Business College, University of Colorado Boulder, Pikes Peak Community College, Red Rocks Community College and Utah Valley University.  This year is unique in that two local community colleges earned entry into the competition.

The goal of this event is to choose the team with the best skills to move forward to the national event, said Steve Fulton, a Regis associate professor of Cyber Security and the director of Regis’ Center for Information Assurance Studies, who helped organize the event.

“A unique aspect of RMCCDC is that it focused on how well the individual teams work together,” Fulton said.

Starting Friday morning, teams will be briefed about a business scenario, given computers, printers and other electronic equipment as well as the applications and internet services needed to run a simulated business. Each team will attempt to secure its business from cyberattacks waged by a team of 30 crafty volunteers attempting to break into the systems throughout the two-day event.

“We always try to throw in something unique each year,” Fulton said. “This year’s focus is on a secure supply chain for a business environment.”

While fending off cyberattacks from some of the areas most talented penetration testers, the teams will have to simulate a normal workday, such as responding to a CEO’s sudden, deadline-driven request.

The competition is supposed to be fun, but Fulton acknowledges students are pushed to their limits.

“While we try to emphasize that our goal is to give them the opportunity to succeed at securing and managing a business environment in a fun and safe environment,  the students  get very wrapped up in it and want to do their best,” he said. 

The competition requires the support of about 100 volunteers, including nearly a dozen who designed and configured the environment as well as those who will role play during the event, score the teams and more.

“The core group of volunteers have been working months on this,” Fulton said. “Most of them are Regis students and affiliate faculty past and present. They’re very dedicated. We couldn’t do this without their help. They truly deserve my thanks and appreciation. I’m constantly amazed at how many volunteer hours they dedicate to this event.”

The winning team will be announced at the event’s conclusion, around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Established in 1877, Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning and service. Regis University, one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation, has four campus locations in the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs and extensive online program offerings with more than 11,000 enrolled students. For more information, visit www.regis.edu.