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Cyber defenders score high in national competition

Friday, Feb. 9, 2018

Kansas State University's Cyber Defense Team.

Kansas State University's Cyber Defense Team. Members include, from left: Calvin Bailey, Josh Riess, BreAnn Anshutz, Susan Burke, Richard Petrie, Caleb Fleming, Lance Pettay and Joy Hauser. | Download this photo.


MANHATTAN — Team members from the Kansas State University Cyber Defense Club brought home second-place honors in the Spring 2018 National ISEAGE Cyber Defense Competition, Feb. 2-3, at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Competing against 20 teams from 16 schools across the U.S., students were faced with situations designed to simulate real-world information technology, choosing where and when to best tradeoff between security and usability.

Cyber defense competitions are hosted annually to allow students studying the various areas of information assurance to test their skills. Competitors form blue teams, four to eight students from a university or institution, and are tasked with providing a variety of services to their network such as websites, email, remote desktop, programming environments and backup services. The student teams have about three weeks to secure all of their services and prepare their networks for the onsite event.

At the competition, a red team, made up of security professionals from industry as well as graduate students from Iowa State's information assurance program, was brought in for an eight hour "attack phase," with the task of trying to hack into the blue teams' systems and steal "flags." If a blue team has one of its flags stolen, it loses points.

Blue teams not only have to keep out the red team, but also must provide easy-to-use services for a green team, which acts as an end user of the blue teams' services. Green team members attempt to log on to blue teams' systems, use their email accounts, browse their websites and more, all while awarding points based on the end-user experience

The competition pits the industry's best against some of the most talented students in the Midwest. Employers have grown to expect quality hires from the student competitors, with alumni of the event going on to work at locations such as WebFilings, Boeing, Microsoft, Lockheed-Martin, Rockwell Collins, Google, Facebook, Amazon and nearly every federal agency.

The eight-member team from Kansas State University included the following students:

Susan Burke, senior in information systems, Haysville; Lance Pettay, senior in computer science, Hutchinson; Richard Petrie, master's student in business administration, Lenexa; Caleb Fleming, team captain and senior in computer science, Manhattan; Joy Hauser, senior in computer science, Olathe; Joshua Riess, sophomore in computer science, Overland Park; BreAnn Anshutz, junior in computer science, St. John.

From out of state: and Calvin Bailey, junior in computer science, Raymore, Missouri.

Faculty adviser is Eugene Vasserman, associate professor in computer science, in the College of Engineering at Kansas State.


Eugene Vasserman


Computer science

News tip 

Haysville, Hutchinson, Lenexa, Manhattan, Olathe, Overland Park and St. John, Kansas; and Raymore, Missouri.

Written by

Mary Rankin