World's largest college cybersecurity competition held in SA

Students duke it out against hackers

SAN ANTONIO – It's like the Super Bowl of cybersecurity competitions. Nine teams, some from South Texas and some from other states, fight to protect programs and websites as they build them.

Rufus Reed is a senior on Texas A&M San Antonio's Student Cyber Organization.

"We had to secure the system. So update the software, put anything in that's going to protect it from vulnerabilities and then keep our services running. So our website, our web servers, our FTP servers, email servers, DNS server," Reed said.

Then there are the people causing the problems for the teams: the hackers, who are industry professionals huddled in one room wreaking havoc on the teams' programs.

"I'm going start killing all their processes and their screen is going to look like that," said one of the hackers, laughing and pointing to a picture of the grumpy cat.

Reed said the day was challenging, to say the least.

"We're students and the red team are professionals," Reed said.

The hard work is meaningful, though.

"Cybersecurity is in the news a lot lately. It is becoming pivotal for our economy, our national defense, for our lives," said Paul Krier, with Raytheon.

Raytheon sponsors the cybersecurity competition.

"This is a unique competition because it really mimics the real world. They're not trying to hack into systems, they're defending systems," Krier said.

Recruiting and training the best college cybersecurity minds in the country could help these companies keep businesses and our personal information safe.

The team that wins this regional competition will go onto the national competition, which is also held in San Antonio April 24-26. 

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