SEMO's award-winning team is future line of defense against cyber attacks

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo (KMOX) -  A group of college students is getting noticed for stopping virtual criminals.

It's the eighth straight year the Southeast Missouri State University Cyber Defense Team has won Missouri's Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

Dr. Mario Garcia, director of Southeast’s Institute for Cybersecurity says the 8 member team practices several times a week to prepare, "they have experts in different operating systems, like experts in Windows, experts in Unix, they have to learn how to defend and protect each one of the servers."

Garcia tells KMOX, in the day long competition, the team has to keep a network, it's devices and servers safe from simulated hackers, while attacks escalate through the day. 

He says these students are using skills that are needed in the real world as cyber attacks -- especially those involving ransomware -- become increasingly common.

The Southeast Cyber Defense Team will compete in the Midwest competition later this month.

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