Some Iowa State University students that could one day be protecting your vital information on-line are practicing their craft this weekend. The students are part of the first annual Cyber Defense Competition. Computer engineering professor Doug Jacobson is leading the team of judges for the event.He says they have six student teams who have spent the last two weeks setting up computer networks and now will spend 27 hours defending the networks against a team of computer hackers from Des Moines and Ames. The teams are judged by how well they handle the hackers. He says they start with zero points and if the hackers are successful, they add points. He says it’s like golf, where the low score wins. If the students are able to patch or fix the vulnerable areas found by the hackers, they can earn points back. Jacobsen says students asked for this type of competition to test their skills. He says, “This really sort of serves as a sort of capstone type exercise. Students have had several courses and lots of hands on with security, but this really gives them a chance to put everything together.” He says people have to be able to use the systems the students built. Jacobsen says the students will plenty of opportunities to use their knowledge in the real world when they graduate.He says the computer security area is a hot field right now with lots of openings in the public and private sector. He says there are stories every day about the theft of information via computer. The students begin at six o’clock Friday and continue through nine o’clock tonight (Saturday).
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