DakotaCon 2018 Makes Cyber Security Fun with Games and Competitions

On Mar 23 until Mar 25, (technically), the premiere security conference of Madison, SD was held at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse. The conference includes events, programs, and talks that all have some aspect of security involved, whether it be lock picking, red or blue teaming, or participating in Capture the Flag (CTF).

Because of the cyber security base of DakotaCon, most (if not all) computer and security based classes on campus are cancelled so that students can use the time to learn about technology security straight from the experts.

One presenter, John Strand, began his presentation, “Let’s Go Hunting Bad Guys!” with a game that represented a diagram of how hard it can be to get through testing. The character would get past one part of the level and then another obstacle would immediately stop the player from progressing. The name of the game is Trap Adventure 2, and you can watch a video of the game being played here.

Strand was a Penetration tester and his skills were used to find holes in the security of the different companies he would work with. In order to get more cyber students interested in Pen testing, Strand used the line, “Come to the dark side; we have cookies and you’ll like it,” which I think is the perfect way to get people at this school interested.

However, one part of his presentation was to discuss the importance of defensive security and to bring more attention to people who might be interested in blue teaming. While the offensive and defensive security are different, Strand stated that, “the two sides work alongside each other to keep organizations safe.”

If you’re interested in watching playbacks of the presentations from DakotaCon, the website has videos posted on their site, http://DakotaCon.org/, from Track I and Track II.

For those who weren’t interested in listening to people talk, there was a mock CCDC (Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition) also happening in a separate area of DakotaCon.

Sophomores Chris Loutsch and Jared Keene were on the Blue team of the competition and gave some insight on what went down during the mock trial. “The competition started on Friday around 3 o’clock until around 7:30 and ended officially on Saturday around 11 o’clock A.M..

Blue team defends the network and the machines on the network while the Red team tries to attack everything.

Before the competition, Blue team gets a scenario of networks and nodes that they have to try to defend and then at the competition, they have 15 minutes to protect themselves from the attackers (Red team).

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out very well for Blue team, who were given laptops without charges. Keene’s laptop was dead until 45 minutes into the competition.

“It was kind of a stressful sort of thing to try and get caught up with red team”, Loutsch commented.

While Keene and Loutsch, among others, were just on the Exhibition team, there is a “real team” that goes to competitions; the CCDC team for DSU is headed to Nationals on Apr 13, where they will get to compete with other teams from across the United States.