SEMO Cyber Defense program takes home ninth win at competition

The Southeast Missouri State University Cyber Defense Team members pose for a photo with their third-place trophy win in the virtual 2021 Erich J. Spenger Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition on Tuesday. Back row, from left, Gabe Stier and Jack Gavin, team co-captains; Mario Alberto Garcia, director of the university's Cybersecurity Institute and the team's adviser; Southeast provost Mike Godard; team members Elijah Iverson, Joseph Kossack, Stephen Gullette and Christopher Atkins; and Alberto Davila, dean of the Donald L. Harrison College of Business and Computing. Front row, from left, team members Jennifer Tenholder, Suzie Luehmann and Luke Skaggs.

The SEMO Cyber Defense Team won the Missouri Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition back in February. It was the ninth consecutive year for the program to take home the top honors.

Held virtually this year, the 12-person team was challenged to defend a network from active threats and attacks. The team advanced to the Erich J. Spenger Midwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition where they finished third.

"We have an outstanding group of hardworking students," Dr. Mario Alberto Garcia, director of the University's Cybersecurity Institute and the team's advisor, said in a university news release. "The judges mentioned that every year, the teams are getting better, and the competition is more difficult."

Garcia added that the ninth consecutive state-level win is a testament to the university's excellent cybersecurity program.

Technology has become increasingly important in our lives for work, health care, national defense and entertainment, among other areas. Likewise, cybersecurity training will only grow in importance as bad actors seek to breach systems, gain access to data or cause other harm to systems. We're pleased to see the SEMO program's success over the last decade and congratulate the students on their most recent competition victory.