Monday, April 6, 2009

One Last Update on the CIAC

Passed on by Dr. Barbara Endicott-Popovsky

To Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Advisory Board Members and Extended Community:

Re: Pacific Rim Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (PRCCDC)

March 28-29, the Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, in collaboration with over 50 volunteers from Northwest academic and business communities and with generous support from Microsoft, successfully held the 2nd Annual Pacific Rim Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (PRCCDC) with seven university and community college teams competing. Over the two-day period, each team was charged with maintaining an eight-workstation network while sustaining and repelling cyber attacks from a team of professional penetration testers. UWTV’s documentary from last year’s competition, downloadable at:, provides an understanding of the event, its organization and its outcomes for students. (This has become a popular site with downloads in the thousands!)

Competing teams represented the University of Washington CSE Dept, the University of Washington Tacoma Institute of Technology, the University of Washington iSchool, DeVry University, Highline Community College, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Whatcom County Community College. The point scores this year were tightly grouped with only a few percentage points separating the top three teams. The improvement in scores reflects hours of preparation which means all teams win—their knowledge grows; their skills improve.

This year’s winning team, comes from the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington Seattle campus. They will compete in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition to be held in San Antonio, Texas April 17-19. We wish them the best as they represent our region.


The event was made possible through a close collaboration among members of the community, academia and industry.

Microsoft’s generosity extended beyond providing the venue, logistics and funding for the equipment to include numerous volunteers who helped during set up and the competition. Cisco provided routing and switching equipment.

To staff the contest, Casaba Corporation, Internap, Microsoft, the University of Idaho, and the University of Washington cooperated in organizing the team of penetration testers. Idaho State University provided a team of judges from their information assurance graduate program, augmented by volunteers from the McChord Air Force base cyber unit.

The organizing committee was a collaboration of several schools and universities: Brian Hay, University of Alaska Fairbanks provided the contest architecture and images, Don McLane and Rick Davidson from the University of Washington Tacoma Institute of Technology provided network design and implementation, Bob Bunge, DeVry University, provided the web presence scoring engine for the contest and contest documentation.


Students are the central focus of this pedagogical event which exposes them to other schools, a network of professionals, career opportunities, new knowledge. Sixteen hours of concentrated effort to manage a network provides intensive education that allows students to integrate and apply what they have learned in their respective curricula. The atmosphere of a competition sharpens focus--everyone wins in this environment.

Future Work

Complicating the event this year was the unexpected eruption of Mt Redoubt in Alaska that caused added delays in setting up the infrastructure. As a result, we plan to virtualize the environment next year.

Microsoft continues to express interest in this event for next year. After analyzing this year’s results, we will begin planning for 2010 and welcome suggestions for improvement.

Dr. Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, Director
Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity

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