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Metro State team participates in Minnesota State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition 2024

Posted January 31, 2024

a group of people posing for a picture on a staircase

Saint Paul, MN – Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence held the 2024 Minnesota State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) on January 27. Alexandria Tech and Community College hosted the Minnesota event, and eight teams from across the state participated. Sponsors included Abbott, White Oak Security, WiSP Services. LLC, and Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Associate. Winners of the Minnesota CCDC advance to Regional CCDC, hosted by Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois, with a chance to compete at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition at University of Texas San Antonio in April.

More than 80 students from eight different Minnesota State System institutions joined this year for a full day of competition and learning. Along with students, faculty and industry members participated as advisors, sponsors, and Red Team (Ethical Hackers/Penetration Experts).

In a controlled virtual environment, CCDC competitors assume administrative and protective duties for an existing “commercial” network—typically a small company with 50+ users, 7 to 10 servers, and standard Internet services such as a web server, mail server, and e-commerce site. Each team begins the competition with an identical set of hardware and software and is scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain the availability of existing services such as mail servers and web servers, respond to business requests such as the addition or removal of additional services, and balance security needs against business needs. 
Throughout the competition, an automated scoring engine periodically verifies each team’s services' functionality and availability, and traffic generators feed simulated user traffic into the competition network. A volunteer Red Team (Ethical Hackers) provides the “external threat” of all Internet-based services, which allows the teams to match their defensive skills against live opponents (hackers).

The competition was tight this year, with the top four (4) teams within 2,000 points (out of 42,000). 

1st Place – Pine Technical and Community College, Pine City 
2nd Place – Alex Technical and Community College, Alexandria
3rd Place - Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park
4th Place – MCTC, Minneapolis College, Minneapolis

Other Participating Teams: Metro State University, Saint Paul; Minnesota State Community and Technical College with MN State University Moorhead; Minnesota State University, Mankato; and St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud. 

Pine Tech will automatically move on to the Regional CCDC on March 15–16, and 2nd and 3rd Place Teams, Alex Tech and Hennepin Technical College, will complete in the Midwest Wildcard on February 24, for an additional chance to move on to the regional as well.

MN State IT Center of Excellence would like to share a special thank you to our event sponsor, Abbott, Keith Roberts (Abbott) speaker, and our 2024 keynote speaker Mark Lanterman. This event would not have been successful without their financial and participatory support. 

The center would also like to thank White Oak Security (providing access to UMSA Secure 360 Conference to students); Network Centers, Inc. (T-shirts and Swag); to Steve Richards, co-director and host from Alexandria Tech; Brian Potter, chief judge from WISP Services; Brian Johnson, Red Team lead from Best Buy; Jeremy Scribner, super site judge from Alexandria Tech (Awards and Career 360 Sponsor); and Janice Aanenson, State CCDC director and executive director of the MN State IT Center of Excellence.

For more information or to set up a time to speak with students, faculty advisors, or leaders of this event, or to sponsor this event, please get in touch with Janice Aanenson.


About Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence

Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (MN STATE IT COE), one of eight Minnesota State Centers of Excellence, provides high school and college students with various resources and programs to support the ever-changing world of Information Technology and Computer Science. The center has contributed significantly by reaching out to thousands of secondary students, funding dozens of new curriculum efforts, and leading numerous other efforts to increase the quality and quantity of IT talent in the state.

About Metro State University

Founded in 1971, Metro State University, a member of Minnesota State, is the Twin Cities public, urban, comprehensive state university providing lifelong learning and competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. The University currently offers more than 60 undergraduate programs and more than 25 graduate degrees. Metro State ranks 22nd in the nation and first in Minnesota on CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index, which measures colleges' and universities' success in elevating students from low-income strata into the middle class within five years of graduation. To learn more, visit