Trinity University sent a team of three to compete in the San Antonio Cyber Defense Competition, a national competition with regional qualification on the line. Despite being down five people to most of the teams, Trinityâ€™s team came out as one of the four to qualify for the southwest regionals.
Paul Myers, the teamâ€™s faculty sponsor, says the competitions are consistent with real-world organization IT issues.
â€œThese particular competitions are purely defensive. There is a Red Team, comprised mostly of professionals who will persistently try to attack and bring down the services being provided by the competing team. At the same time, a White Team sends orders to the competing team, asking for changes in the system, reports, policy implementations, etc.,â€ Myers said. â€œThe competing team acts as though it were providing IT serves to a bona fide organization. It [the White Team] must respond to that organizationâ€™s demands and requests, all the while being attacked by outsiders [Red Team].â€
Ashton-Drake Giddings, Thomas Witecki and Evan Garvie represented Trinity. None of them have extensive experience except for Giddings. Without a true coach like many of the other schools, Giddings has acted as a coach as well as competitor. While there are some advantages to only having three members, Giddings acknowledges that there are disadvantages as well.
â€œI guess the only real advantages of having three people would be the fact that you don’t rely on as many people,â€ Giddings said. â€œBut there are disadvantages. Of course, if you have a good team, it takes a lot of weight off your shoulders since you can distribute the workload. Â There are eight machines, so you’d want to at least have six people work on the machines, [which is] another advantage of having more people. Â There are a flurry of times where management asks for a report. Â To be most efficient, you must have someone that has the job of only doing reports.â€
Witecki agrees with Giddings that there are far more disadvantages than advantages to having a three-man team.
â€œThere are no advantages of having three people competing compared to eight. It is actually a big disadvantage,â€ Witecki said.
The team hopes that the early success will motivate other students to join and improve the strength of the team.
â€œWith the inexperience that the team has, it’d be easy to say that we don’t have a shot, but the thing is that Trinity University hosts some of the brightest minds, and I feel that if I’m able to gather enough people and we put enough effort in the days to come, we’d have a fighting chance,â€ Giddings said. â€œI didn’t think we’d make it to regionals, but I was wrong. Â Plus, we’ve already placed in some other competitions.â€ (Giddings and Thomas placed in second at the TexSAW competition.)
The Trinity Cyber-Team will next compete in the Southwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition with the hopes of building a bigger team and continued success.