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The University of Central Florida Kinghts have won the Raytheon National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Championship (RNCCDC), just barely edging out the second-place finishers and defending champions from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The annual competition was started in 2005 in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security to improve cyber security education and increase the number of highly qualified cyber security graduates, and this year about 180 teams from universities and colleges across the United States competed in 10 regional events, with the winners from each region earning the right to vie for the 2014 title that was held from April 25-27 in San Antonio, Texas.

“National CCDC brings together the top 10 cyber defense teams in the nation. Having the ability to compete at this level is an honor in itself.” said Dr. Thomas Nedorost, faculty advisor for the UCF Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Team. “The level of competition is fierce. Seeing UCF bring home the Alamo Cup (1st Place trophy), is priceless.”

While the competition has existed since 2005, UCF only very recently started competing. Shortly after Dr. Nedorost began teaching at UCF in 2013, several students approached him to ask if he would be willing to sponsor a UCF team for this competition.

“I realized the tremendous opportunities this competition would provide for our students. I eagerly agreed and this is the second year UCF has entered a team, ” Nedorost said. “It is also our second appearance at the National competition. In 2013, the UCF CCDC Team finished 10th nationally in our very first year of competition. This year, the UCF team has captured the national title as the top Collegiate Cyber Defense Team in the nation.”

Each year, the team enters a virtual qualification round. 18 teams from our 7-state Southeast region entered the qualification round including UCF, FSU, and USF from Florida. The top 8 teams from the qualification round are invited to compete in a regional competition.

The UCF CCDC Team finished 1st in the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition held in Kennesaw, GA in both 2013 and 2014. The regional winner earns the privilege to compete in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in San Antonio, TX along with the winning teams from the other 9 U.S. regions.

“In addition to receiving the 1st Place trophy, Raytheon (the competition’s title sponsor) will have the team’s picture displayed in Times Square and the team will be flown in to tour to Raytheon’s Government Cyber Operations center near Washington, DC sometime this summer,” Nedorost said.

“Instead of celebrating their victory on the flight home, the team discussed strategies to improve their performance at next year’s competition.”

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