The Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Clemson Team Takes First at South Carolina Cyber Defense Competition

Richard Clarke (far left) announces the winning Clemson team at the 2014 Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition: (L-R) team advisor Kevin McKenzie, Benjamin Doherty, Russell Brinson, James Jernigan, Julian Coy, Yu Fu, and Benafsh Husain.

For the second year in a row, Clemson University students took first place in the state-wide Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition run by The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SPAWAR). Clemson competed against seven other colleges and universities from across South Carolina, and all the major SC science and technology universities were represented at this year’s event, which took place April 12 in Charleston, SC.

During the competition, students from each school worked as “Blue Teams” that were responsible for operating a small business network. The teams were provided with a malconfigured business network at the start of the competition and were challenged to properly reconfigure the network, add new services, and respond to additional requirements, all the while defending against a “Red Team” of SPAWAR volunteers working to disrupt and penetrate their network. The student Blue Teams were scored for accomplishing administrative and business tasks while maintaining network and service availability, responding to business requests, and balancing security needs against business needs. 

Clemson’s team, consisting of team captain James Jernigan, computer engineering senior; Russell Brinson, computer engineering junior; Benafsh Husain, electrical engineering graduate student; Benjamin Doherty, computer information systems sophomore; Yu Fu, computer engineering graduate student; and Julian Coy, computer engineering senior, are members of the Clemson University Cyber Defense club, advised by Dr. Kevin McKenzie, chief information security officer at Clemson University.

As the winning team, Clemson was presented with a trophy which will be hosted at the university until next year’s competition, and team members were awarded scholarship prizes. James Jernigan was also awarded the College Day MVP award for the event.

The Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition is jointly organized SPAWAR and the South Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA). The goal of the PCDC is to energize South Carolina Colleges and High Schools and their students to focus on the development of technical skills in the areas of networking and cyber security in preparation for exciting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

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