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 Devon Streit, Energy Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration, announces winners of this year's Cyber Defense Competition. 

Argonne National Lab

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hosted its third annual Cyber Defense Competition (CDC) at Argonne, Pacific Northwest, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Held across these labs simultaneously, 25 teams of university students fought to defend their cyber networks from simulated attacks launched by experts in the cyber field. After fierce competition, Devon Streit, DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration announced that Lewis University bested the other teams, winning the 2018 CDC.

“Competition breeds excellence. It brings out the best in us. And when America’s cyber experts are challenging one another on the virtual battlefield, we all win," said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry as he kicked off the contest via video message. "There is perhaps nothing more essential to America’s national and economic security than its energy supply. The Department of Energy plays a vital role in protecting that supply, and as Secretary, it is my number one priority.”

The CDC is sponsored by DOE’s Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration (ISER) and brings students in computer science and engineering together in a competitive training simulation where student teams first build a complex network infrastructure, and then work to defend it against cyberattacks launched by industry professionals. Each student team consisted of up to 6 students, ranging from freshmen to Ph.D. candidates.

Now in its third year, the DOE CDC event matches mission-critical science with real-world training and education in an area that is a particular strength for national labs.

When asked what the team members wanted to do after graduation, all of them expressed interest in pursuing careers in cybersecurity, whether pursuing an advanced degree in the field, or working in cyber research at one of the national labs. And with unfilled cybersecurity careers estimated to top 1.5 million by 2019, it is evident that the industry is waiting for them.

With the ever-increasing amount of technology that relies on and is accessible via the internet, cybersecurity is, and must remain, a high priority for our Nation. Through cyber defense competitions like CDC, DOE works to increase hands-on cyber education, increase awareness of critical infrastructure security issues, and train the next generation of cybersecurity experts.

“Mixing hands-on interactive cybersecurity learning, introductions to experts from the national laboratories, knowledge of critical infrastructure challenges in the United States, and a drive to compete is what makes the Cyber Defense Competition so successful in building our future workforce,” said AnneMarie Horowitz, DOE’s Director of STEM Rising. “STEM-ready students are more important than ever to the future of our national security and innovation in this country. The Cyber Defense Competition is one of many pathways the Department of Energy is developing to prepare our country’s top talent of tomorrow.”

Winners of DOE’s Cyber Defense Challenge included:

Overall nationwide winner:

  • Lewis University, Romeoville, IL

From Argonne National Laboratory:

  • 1st Place - University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

  • 2nd Place - Iowa State University, Ames, IA

From Pacific Northwest National Laboratory:

  • 1st Place - Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

  • 2nd Place - University of Idaho, Moscow, ID

From Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

  • 1st Place - University of Memphis, Memphis, TN

  • 2nd Place - University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

For more information on the 2018 CDC visit HERE.