SAIC and UMBC Launch Inaugural Cyber Challenge and Conference

Science Applications International Corporation and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) announced plans for a statewide cyber-competition and conference designed to attract more students and young professionals to pursue careers in cybersecurity. The Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference (MDC3), to be held Oct. 21-22, will strengthen Maryland's position as a cybersecurity leader by bringing teams of current and prospective cybersecurity professionals together to develop the skills and techniques needed to protect vital information systems.

Founders of the event include SAIC, UMBC, the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, and the Tech Council of Maryland.

"I am so proud to join in celebrating the first-ever Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference," said Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. "Our state is poised to lead the way in cybersecurity. From our world-class facilities, federal agencies and military commands that are engaged in cybersecurity work to our vibrant and growing private sector and talented universities, we are uniquely positioned to lead the way to protect and defend the nation's digital infrastructure. I'd like to thank SAIC and UMBC for recognizing the importance of preparing the next generation for the jobs of the future."

Orientation sessions for teams in each of three divisions — high school, collegiate and industry, and government professionals — will be held at UMBC in March and April. Two qualifying rounds will be conducted online using SAIC's Cyber Network Exercise System (CyberNEXS), a scalable training, exercise and certification system.

"SAIC is thrilled to be a co-founder of the inaugural MDC3," said Larry Cox, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager. "This is an opportunity to attract students and young professionals to cyber-oriented degree programs and careers, expanding Maryland's reach as a leader in cybersecurity innovation."

The final rounds of the challenge will be held at the conference as part of Maryland's activities to recognize National Cyber Security Awareness Month. High school teams will compete in a cyber defense challenge, while collegiate and professional teams will go head-to-head in a "capture the flag" scenario. Winners of each division will receive their trophies and awards at a formal ceremony at UMBC.

"Maryland colleges and universities have a critical role to play in preparing students for careers in cybersecurity and related fields," said UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski. "This event will support those efforts by encouraging the development of valuable cybersecurity skills in a competitive setting."

The October cyber conference will feature exhibitor booths, keynote speeches, and workshops conducted by nationally recognized industry leaders. 

"NCSA is proud to be a co-founder of this event," said Michael Kaiser, NCSA executive director. "The nation is in need of a new generation of cybersecurity professionals. This challenge is an excellent way to inspire young people to pursue careers, and perhaps ignite a new passion, for protecting our valuable digital assets."

During MDC3, students and young professionals will have an opportunity to network with cybersecurity leaders while learning about careers in cybertechnology. The conference agenda will be oriented toward students, parents, and professionals from academia, industry and government.

"DBED is pleased to team with SAIC and UMBC to prepare today's students for tomorrow's jobs," said Maryland Secretary of Business and Economic Development Christian S. Johansson, adding, "We launched CyberMaryland last year to position our state as the epicenter for cybersecurity and this effort demonstrates that everything cyber happens right here in Maryland."

"For more than a year, the Tech Council of Maryland has been engaged with the cybersecurity industry, our members and our partners in Maryland to produce a series of events and conversations through the CyberMaryland Forum," said Renee M. Winsky, TCM CEO. "Working with SAIC and others on MDC3 only furthers the breadth and opportunity for Maryland's bourgeoning cybersecurity industry."


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