• Baylor student cybersecurity team training to protect from 21st-century cyberattacks

    A Baylor Cybersecurity student team member works on a computer

    Thanks to technology, the world is connected in a way and at a speed that has never been possible before. Such progress offers conveniences not even imaginable some 20 years ago — but also a new category of threats.

    As data breaches and other IT security issues continue to make headlines, Baylor is dedicated to preparing graduates who can fend off these threats. One part of that approach? A competitive student cybersecurity team, known as CyberSec.

    CyberSec was formed in 2016 with a unique focus on training students to solve problems related to safeguarding critical infrastructure. This includes both offensive strategies (such as enabling two-factor authentication and stronger password use) and defensive skills (like installing firewalls and white-hat hacking).

    The team is comprised of students from a variety of disciplines — not just computer science or engineering majors. “Solving cybersecurity challenges requires participants from different backgrounds. Anybody can develop the skills needed to contribute to the team, and we encourage them to join us,” says Dr. Jeff Donahoo (BS ’91, MS ’93), a Baylor computer science professor and CyberSec coach.

    “Baylor Cybersecurity has provided me with a great extracurricular outlet,” says Baylor senior Ben Davis. “The training is essential for up-and-coming computer scientists, as well as other less technical business roles.”

    Earlier this month, the team qualified at the 2021 Southwest CCDC competition. They will advance to the regional competition in March — and it’s not the first time. (The photo above is from 2018, when the Baylor team made nationals as one of the top 10 teams in the country.)

    “During the pandemic, the team typically meets virtually to keep its skills fresh,” Donahoo says. “We often host contest environments in a private cloud infrastructure that is remotely accessible. By working in a private space, the team can practice with attack and defense scenarios that would cause problems and set off alarms on the general campus network.”

    It’s inevitable that as technology advances, new challenges will arise. These Bears could very well be the ones creating the security measures of tomorrow to protect us all.

    Sic ’em, Baylor CyberSec!

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