Danville Community College hosts CyberKnights Showdown, cuts ribbon on new center

Danville Community College hosted the CyberKnights Showdown, its first regional cybersecurity competition, Friday on the DCC campus.

“Cybersecurity, now more than ever, is an integral part of nearly every business,” said Jerry Wallace, president of Danville Community College. “The need to protect consumer, business and government data is ever-growing and the opening of our new, state- of-the-art cyber center is DCC’s response to this local, national, and global need.”

High school students from around the area gathered in the new, state-of-the-art DCC Cyber Center located in the Temple Building on the DCC campus to compete in an online, capture-the-flag environment. Competition categories include: open source intelligence gathering, forensic, web exploitation, steganography, cryptography, network traffic analysis, reverse engineering and encryption.

“It was incredibly impressive to watch these high school students come in to the competition prepared to compete in something so technical and specialized,” said Wallace. “These students are the future of the information systems technology industry.”

After the conclusion of the competition, awards were issued to the winners in a ceremony held in Oliver Hall, which included first-, second- and third-place medals, and an HP Laptop for each winner, donated by the Danville Community College Educational Foundation. The winners are:

First place: Epic Misfit Debris, Andrew Lindblom and Joshua Martin;

Second place: Random Eclipse, Jacob Richardson and Benjamin Barnett; and

Third place: Crash-test Gunners, Joshua Cole and Connor Brumfield

Participants enjoyed a boxed lunch, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of the new cyber center.

Wallace welcomed attendees to the ceremony and introduced guest speaker Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security for the Commonwealth of Virginia Aliscia Andrews.

“We are pleased that our representation in Richmond recognizes the importance of cybersecurity training and the impact it will have on Virginia in the years to come,” said Wallace. “It was an absolute honor to have Aliscia Andrews join us to speak to attendees about the critical need for cybersecurity expertise in our state.”

Steven Carrigan, professor of information systems technology and director of the cyber center offered closing remarks to attendees.

“With continued cyber-attacks on our nation’s infrastructure, it is important for businesses and industries to hire highly trained graduates,” Carrigan said. “DCC was first awarded accreditation from the National Security Agency (NSA)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) in 2017 and was re-certified in August of this year with our new Cyber and Network Security Associate of Applied Science Degree program. In keeping with October being recognized as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, this competition highlights the brightest high school students in our region who will ultimately become our nation’s future cyber experts.”

For more information about the cybersecurity program at Danville Community College, visit danville.edu.