The Success of the Cyber Defense Club

Lewis University Cyber Defense Club has obtained third place in the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) on Feb. 17, to which they have been working for months on.



To  prepare for the Midwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, with the team spending around eight  hours defending a mock business network against multiple simulated cyber-attacks.


The competition  was founded in 2004. According to the content’s  website, its purpose is to  offer “motivated educational institutions to offer students an opportunity to gain practical experience in information assurance by participating in competitions.”


It starts as a regional contest that later on transcends into a nationwide competition. In the case of Lewis, the team competes against other schools located within the Midwest Region. Through the event, judges introduce the contestants with different challenges so they are able to assess the teams performance, and later on score the efforts. With all this information, the team has been able to improve from their previous event, and prepare for the upcoming one that could lead them to The National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC.)


The Cyber Defense Club’s mentor is Dr. Jason Perry, the associate professor of engineering, computing and mathematical sciences and also the Director of Cybersecurity and IT programs. “The club is very student driven, is open to all majors, and every time the club meets, it sort of a learning goal to train each other,” said Dr. Perry. He went on to explain the students’ practice by configuring computers and using defensive technologies such as firewalls to configure networks.

The club members practice in simulated environments, which means that they use real computers, but they are on an isolated network that allows them to try out various techniques. Later on, the students are able to analyze the various attacks happening to the system.

Lewis University’s team members includes  David Simeone, Kyle Bye, Alex Florczyk, Nicolas Formella, Michael Szostak, Matthew Torres, Kacper Zalewski and Jayson Ray Yabes.

Back in 2023, the team placed in the top ten  in an event organized by the U.S. Department of Energy. The esteemed tournament is called CyberForce Competition, which was initiated in 2016 and remains one of the main events for the club. It revolves around a cyber-physical scenario where participants engage in both defense and attack strategies.

The club makes sure to attend a variety of events through the years. Another significant event that the students have had the opportunity to attend is called Cyber 9/12, which is more policy based, meaning that the individual must figure out what is more convenient in both government and corporate levels to protect the security systems.

“I am really proud of them, they’ve had a strong team from the beginning of the fall semester. I could tell that – of course It varies from year to year – it is really up to them how much they want to try, I am just in the background,” said Dr. Perry. “I have been  impressed to see the new leadership team and the captain have really taken the reins and actually made the team more active and engaged.”

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