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Hennepin Tech team earns second in cyber competition

Cyber Security graphic

Minnesota State Cyber Defense Competition

St. Paul, MN – Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence held the 2023 Minnesota State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition on February 4, 2023. Alexandria Tech and Community College hosted the Minnesota event, and eight teams from across the State participated. Sponsors included Cisco Network Academy, White Oak Security, Best Buy, WiSP Services, LLC, Upper Midwest Security Alliance, and Grandonville Cooperative Telephone Associate.

February 6, 2023 — 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 dozen new curriculum efforts, and leading numerous other efforts to increase the quality and quantity of IT talent in the state.

One of the annually sponsored and organized events is the Minnesota State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC). 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 San Antonio, Texas, in April 2023.

Over 80 students from 8 different Minnesota State System institutions came together 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 is used to periodically verify 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 – Minneapolis College (MCTC), Minneapolis, MN
  • 2nd Place – Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park, MN
  • 3rd Place – Pine Technical and Community College, Pine City, MN
  • 4th Place – Lake Superior College, Duluth, MN

Other Participating Teams: Alexandria Technical and Community College, Alexandria, MN; Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN; Minnesota State Community and Technical College with MN State U, Moorhead, Moorhead, MN and St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN.

Minneapolis College (MCTC) will automatically move on to the Regional CCDC on March 17th-18th, 2023, and 2nd and 3rd Place Teams – Minneapolis College and Hennepin Technical College will complete in the Midwest Wildcard on March 4th, 2023, 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 Steve Richards, Co-Director 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, White Oak Security; Clydene Stangvik, Cisco Networking Academy 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 at

Last updated by mdibba : 2023-02-10 12:22:24