Cybersecurity Competitions

The cybersecurity field is rapidly growing and has been for decades, however it's notoriously difficult to gain the skills and experience necessary to be qualified for an entry-level position.

Cybersecurity competitions provide an environment for students to practice using the equipment, tools, and services that are used by companies across the globe. Our mission is to give students the opportunity to prepare for and compete in these competitions in order to give them an advantage when entering the workforce after college. In addition, we send as many new students as possible to each competition so that both returning and new members of the club are able to gain the real-world experience that comes from competing.

UMCST at NECCDC 2023

Defense - Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

The University of Maine Cybersecurity Team was originally formed to compete at the Northeast CCDC (NECCDC). The whole gist of this competition is that the team is provided with a mock company's network (which has been primarily cloud infrastructure in the last couple years but the format slightly fluctuates) and are tasked with managing and defending said infrastructure from attackers. As competitors, you're constantly getting tasks from upper management, to do services for customers, and defend against hackers just as someone would in the industry (though the competition is far more fast-paced). Combined with the physical element of having to worry about the attackers attempting to steal information by actively trying to get into your room, this competition is intense, but super rewarding and a lot of fun to be involved in.

UMCST typically focuses on preparing for this competition from around October through March. Using our lab resources and alumni, we participate in several practice competitions throughout the year complete with a white team (our mock company's management) and a red team (malicious actors trying to break into our network). Our most important resource is UMCST's famous “CCDC Playbook", full of all the tips, tricks, and guides we have compiled over the years. You have to be a member to access and contribute, but for the curious you can check out some public resources to which we have contributed.

The University of Maine has had the opportunity to host the NECCDC several times. In 2010, the leadership of Professor George Markowsky, then the head of the Computer Science department in UMaine's school of Liberal Arts and Sciences, helped to make UMaine's first NECCDC the largest yet. We hosted NECCDC a second time in 2013, again in 2016 and 2020.

UMCST achieved third place during the 2021 and 2022 NECCDC seasons.

3rd place at NECCDC 2022

"The NECCDC is a tremendously positive event in the preperation of the generation of cybersecurity professionals and deserves widespread support. We have seen the positive impact on the students as a result... they acquire a great appreciation for the knowledge gained and the importance of cybersecurity to both our personal and business world."

- Professor George Markowsky, Ph.D.
UMCST at CPTC 2019

Offense - Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition

After the success of NECCDC, the CPTC was started as a way to prepare students not only to defend a network, but to ethically attack a network in order to discover the same vulnerabilities a malicious hacker would find. Student competitors will create a report detailing the issues that were found on a mock company's network, in addition to detailing how those issues should be fixed.

Preparations for the CPTC begin in the spring after NECCDC, and continue through the summer as club members are available. We continue to prepare around our introductory labs conducted at the beginning of the fall semester, with the competition occurring in October. Our first CPTC was in 2016, we attended again in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

UMCST competing in Hivestorm 2019

Defense - Hivestorm

Hivestorm is a defensive competition where teams participate remotely to remediate security vulnerabilities in Windows and Linux virtual machines. Scoring is done in real-time and more difficult tasks are given more points. Hivestorm is the first semi-formal competition that we compete in in the fall and is a great opportunity for new members to get great experience early in their cybersecurity careers.

Additional Resources
The CCDC Homepagenationalccdc.org
The CCDC Twittertwitter.com/nationalccdc
The CPTC Homepagenationalcptc.org
The CPTC Twittertwitter.com/nationalcptc
The NECCDL Websiteneccdl.org/
The NECCDL Twittertwitter.com/neccdl