Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition Heats Up with Charleston Students in the Finals

Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition Heats Up with Charleston Students in the Finals

A team of Cyber and Network Security and cybersecurity students at ECPI University’s Charleston campus has advanced to the finals of the Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition (PCDC). An annual event, the three-day Cyber Defense Competition is hosted by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic in collaboration with the South Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

This competition was created to invigorate focused curriculum development for the type of technical skills that are needed in today’s fast-paced and challenging cyber environment. For the final competition, eight teams comprised of six members each will operate a live network and protect it from real hackers. Students have 30 minutes of access to the network before the hackers attack. Throughout this event, students will showcase their expertise in the areas of networking, risk mitigation, and operating systems.

“You have to come into this thing mentally tough,” says Charleston Campus CIS Program Director Bryan Powers. “Each team member experiences fear and the fact is, there will never be a time where we are fully prepared. It’s a matter of overcoming that fear and that’s only possible with practice…practice changing passwords, deleting user accounts, looking at log files for anomalies, backing up and restoring things, encrypting stuff, and learning the proper button-ology needed for xyz.

“The problem is, we are just not creative enough to imagine how to do things we’ve not yet seen, nor are we capable of understanding why they are important; that is where great leadership comes into play. It has been my experience that anyone can be an MVP if they can follow a checklist, ask a lot of questions, be present, and most importantly, find the will to be both optimistic and opportunistic in every situation.

“This team has come together on weekends, pulled all-nighters and found time to meet at all hours to work through logistics. They’ve overcome obstacles and major life circumstances to focus on their future by finding their niche and contribution to the team.”

~Charleston Campus CIS Program Director Bryan Powers

“This team has come together on weekends, pulled all-nighters and found time to meet at all hours to work through logistics. They’ve overcome obstacles and major life circumstances to focus on their future by finding their niche and contribution to the team. Their achievements made headlines when they placed number one in South Carolina at the PCDC qualifier, the South East Regional Cyber Defense Competition in February. They kept their heads on, followed a plan, stayed positive, adapted, and placed 10th out of 32 regional colleges. We just cannot be prouder of them because they are great leaders and represent the heart of ECPI University!”