November 22, 2016

BY STEVE O’KEEFE
College Relations

CARTERVILLE–The Logan Defenders, John A. Logan College’s Cyber Security Team, outperformed four prior Midwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition state winners as well as some of the top cyber defense teams in the Midwest, including several four-year colleges, to win the Midwest Regional Cyber Defense Competition this past weekend at Moraine Valley College.  

Baldwin Wallace University finished second with Waukesha County Technical College and Southeast Missouri State University finishing third and fourth.  Other schools competing included: Lake Superior College, Moraine Valley Community College, North Iowa, Northern Kentucky University, Baker College of Auburn Hills, and Lake Land Community College.

According to the Web site for the National Center of Systems Security and Information Assurance Innovation in Cyber Security Education (CSSIA), two-year and four-year colleges and universities are putting together their top tech-savvy students to form teams to compete in these competitions. During the competitions each team builds and defends a mock production business infrastructure from professional “hackers” who are given the challenge to take each team’s production systems offline and breach their security.  

The Logan Defenders is made up of students that specialize in various aspects of network security. JALC Assistant Professor Mark Rogers, one of the team’s faculty leaders, said each member plays a crucial role in the competition.  Team members competing in the event were Karandeep Bedi, Quinten Bowen, Sydney Cole, Scott Fields, Brandon Meredith, Cody Brown, Jerry Ross, and Zachary Scanlon. Kylee Williams serves as a faculty team leader along with Rogers.

Rogers said the victory has made a lot of hard work worthwhile.

“I was very impressed with the team. They maintained their composer during several trying times,” said Rogers. “I could not have been more proud than when they announced that JALC had won, that is what makes all the time and effort worthwhile.”

Rogers added that after JALC was announced the winner, a company contacted him wanting the resumes of all his team members. According to long-term employment projections by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the number of Information Security Analysts needed in Illinois alone is expected to grow 30 percent by the year 2022, and over one million jobs will be needed worldwide this year alone.  This shows why programs like the one at JALC are so important.

John A. Logan College was recently designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education (CAE2Y) School by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  JALC is only the second community college in Illinois and one of 40 nationwide to receive this prestigious designation.