National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Red Team Debrief 2017

National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Red Team Debrief 2017

Hello Reader,
        I've been busy lately, so busy I didn't get around to posting this years red team debrief from the National CCDC. After just leaving Blackhat/ Bsides LV/ Defcon and running our first Defcon DFIR CTF I thought it was important to get these up and talk about the lessons learned.

The Debrief

First of all for those of you coming just to get the presentation its below:

For those of you who have no idea what any of these means, let me take a step back.

What is CCDC?

The National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition ( CCDC ) is a now 12 year old competition where colleges around the United States form student teams to defend networks. CCDC is different from other competition involving network security as it focuses strictly on defense. Students who play are put in charge of a working network that they must defend, the only offensive activity in the competition comes from a centralized red team.

The kind of enterprise network students take charge of changes each year. Past years business scenarios have included:

  • Private Prison Operator
  • Electric Utility
  • Web hosting
  • Game Developer
  • Pharma
  • Defense Contractor
  • and more!
The idea is that the last IT team has been fired and the student team is coming in to keep it running and defend it. While the students are working on making sure their systems are functioning they also have to watch for, respond to and defend against the competition red team. 

Scoring happens a couple ways. 

Students get points for:
  • Keeping scored services running (websites, ecommerce sites, ssh access, email, etc..)
  • Completing business requests such as policy creation, password audits and disaster recovery plans
  • Presenting their work to the CEO of the fake company
  • Responding to customers 

Students lose points for:

  • Red team access to user or administrative credentials
  • Red team access to PII data
  • Services not responding to scoring checks aka services being down
  • SLA violations kick in if the service stays down for a period of time
There are now 160 universities competing in 10 regions across the united states. If a student team wins their region they make it to nationals where the top 10 teams in the country compete for some pretty amazing prizes, including on the spot job offers from raytheon. 

If you are a student or a professor who would like to know more about competing you can go here:

What is the National CCDC Red Team?

The National CCDC Red Team is a group of volunteers who works to build custom malware, c2 and exfiltration and persistence strategies to bear each year to give the students the best real world threat experience. I'm the captain of the red team and have been for the last 10 years.

How do I get on it? 

When the call for volunteers goes out send a resume to

Be advised our threshold for acceptance is very high and we look for the following:
- Active projects on github or otherwise to show your experience
- Real experience in developing, maintaining and layering persistence
- Custom malware kits that are unpublished to bring to bear

We don't care about certs, years of experience or who you work for. We need people who can not only get in (the easy part) but to stay in over a two day period of competition while an aggressive group of defenders seeks to keep you out. 

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