Image of UCF winning team of Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

Photo courtesy of the
L3Harris Institute for Assured Information

By Shane Klestinski, Associate Editor

The University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Team once again took first place in the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (SECCDC) on March 24.

UCF’s recent victory is the latest in a record that has established the Knights’ consistency as an especially competitive participant at this regional level of a larger contest. Although UCF’s streak of wins in the SECCDC is not unbroken, the university’s previous cybersecurity teams have also placed first from 2013 to 2016, and from 2018 to 2022.

Held at the Kennedy Space Center, the contest provided a controlled, competitive environment to evaluate UCF and seven other southeastern teams in their depth of understanding and operational competency in protecting corporate network infrastructure and business information systems. During the competition, teams had to defend against simulated cyber threats in real time to keep their businesses operational.

According to Tom Nedorost, UCF computer science professor and team coach, the students who prepare to compete on these teams also get the benefit of experience that makes them more valuable to prospective employers.

“We’re sending the best of our best students,” Nedorost said. “If you want the best cyber graduates that are coming out this year or the next year or so, this is the competition to be at.”

UCF’s team now advances to the national level of Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in San Antonio, Texas, which will take place from April 25 to April 27. The San Antonio round represents the final and highest level of the competition – which UCF has also won multiple times, most recently in 2022.

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