Honolulu CC and UH West Oahu tackle cyber security

Top three placement in the Collegiate Cyber Defense Regional Compeition

Honolulu Community College
Billie K T Lueder, (808) 845-9187
Communications & External Affairs, Chancellor's Office
Posted: Apr 1, 2014

Honolulu CC and UH West Oahu Team
Honolulu CC and UH West Oahu Team

(Honolulu) - For the second consecutive year, a team coached by Honolulu Community College Professor Aaron Tanaka placed in the top three for the “At-Large” regional of the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC).  The team consisted of students from the Computing, Electronics & Networking Technologies (CENT) program at Honolulu CC, and the University of Hawai‘i at West O‘ahu.  The “At-Large” regional competition included teams from two-year colleges and four-year universities in Hawai‘i, Alaska, and Pennsylvania. University of Alaska Fairbanks was the host and winner of the 2014 “At-Large” regional of the CCDC.

The CCDC is a three-day cyber security competition which focuses on the operational aspects of managing and protecting a commercial IT infrastructure. College teams consist of up to eight full-time students who operate as a Blue Team (Defenders). The White Team (Industry Judges) is responsible for giving students injects or tasks to be accomplished as well as grading their performance. The students are required to perform these tasks while a Red Team (Attackers) attempt to hack into their systems.

For this competition, the students were given the scenario of bringing on-line the IT services of a company which had just fired their entire IT staff. They were tasked with protecting and getting IT services up while the Red team was trying to hack into their system, reset passwords and perform other malicious activities.

The Honolulu CC-UH West O‘ahu team consisted of team captains, Thomas Dwyer and Taylor Kina, along with team members, Derek Choi, Nathan Fiesta, Eric Kotake, Cliff Lagunday, Melissa Osowski, and Joe Saludo. White Team Judges included IT security professionals, Summer Lee, Dave Decker and Tanya Kemmler. 

The National Finals for the CCDC is held in El Paso, Texas and is frequently attended by employers such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Association looking for high quality candidates for cyber security positions. Former Secretary of Defense Roberts Gates highlights the importance of providing quality training programs in cyber security in his recent statement, “The United States is preparing for the next generation of war, one that will not be fought on traditional theaters—land, sea and air—but in the world of computers and information networks: cyberspace.”

The CENT program at Honolulu CC provides students with a solid foundation in information & communication technology, as well as information security. The CENT program also supports an articulation agreement with the newly developed Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Information Security Assurance at the University of Hawai‘i at West O’ahu.  This past year Honolulu Community College was recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Two Year.  This program, which is sponsored by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, recognizes colleges and universities who have met their standard for excellence in cyber security training. Honolulu CC is the only collegiate institution in Hawai‘i to have achieved this recognition.