SAN ANTONIO – Cyberattacks are becoming an everyday part of life, and this week, the future generation of students who will fight back against these threats are in San Antonio.
This week, Raytheon Intelligence and Space is hosting the 17th Annual National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.
College students from around the country have descended upon South Texas to work as a team to stop potential cyberattacks.
“It’s not (like) a movie where somebody gets on the keyboard and types out a few strokes, and magically, the world is saved. It takes a team,” said Jon Check, executive director for Cyber Protection Solutions Raytheon Intelligence and Space.
A volunteer group of cyber security professionals known as the red team works on a daily plan to trip up the students.
“The attackers are doing different things to take down the services to cause disruptions,” said Check.
The students must solve the issue and thwart the attack in real-time.
“It’s a competition they want to win, and they really want to show that they have the skills to defend their network from the cyberattacks,” said Check.
A total of 170 schools registered for the competition. The final 10 universities are competing over the next three days to get hands-on experience in cyber defense and cybersecurity.
“It’s really taking learning that the students do in the classroom and giving them a real-world scenario to defend a network,” said Check.
UT Austin is one of the universities competing for this year’s championship. Sophomore Rishabh Ahlawat is taking part in this event for the first time.
“You kind of can’t get this experience anywhere else. You kind of need it to be properly created, properly done,” said Ahlawat.
His interest in cybersecurity and defense started at a young age.
“I first got into this background based on hacking video games, so creating cheats,” said Ahlawat. “I never actually was into like the business of selling and stuff. I just did it for more of, like, personal interest.”
Now he’s part of a team learning how to fight future cyberattacks.
“Even if your school doesn’t have programs that relate to cyber security, you can still find that niche and then join competitions,” said Ahlawat.
“It takes people from all walks of life, generations, socio-economic backgrounds, diversity education levels,” said Check. “Not every person that does cybersecurity needs to be a cybersecurity graduate.”
Click here for more information about the competition.
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