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Podcast: How the University of Central Florida built a hacking dynasty

In this episode of The Cybersecurity Podcast, a team of student hackers from the University of Central Florida explain how they've managed to win three consecutive titles in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

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Students from the University of Central Florida pose after winning their third consecutive National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Championship.

It's a scene familiar to many cybersecurity professionals: Network defenders try to keep business running while fighting off digital attacks. 

But it's also the scenario for one of the country’s largest student cyberdefense competitions, the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. And there's one group that's dominated them all: Hack@UCF, the team from the University of Central Florida that has taken home three consecutive championships.

What's their secret? Teamwork, says team captain Heather Lawrence, and knowing each member of the team's skills and weaknesses very well. 

"When people are under stress, they act differently," she says, but constant practice and a common bond of friendship can help better manage the stress of the competition. As her colleague Alex Davis points out, "we treat [the competition] almost like a part time job ... there's weeks we put in 30 hours of work. And it all pays off." 

Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Davis join the Cybersecurity Podcast this episode to share what it's like to be part of such a high-stakes college competition and how they plan to adapt to the quick-changing nature of technology. 

Also on this episode, podcast cohost Passcode's Sara Sorcher discusses the hacker community's reticence to adapt to politics infiltrating the traditionally hardcore DEF CON hacker conference. New America's Peter Singer shares some stories from an unusual Mad Scientist conference meant to help shape the way the Army fights wars in the future. 

Listen to this episode.

Follow all episodes: iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher 

Follow the hosts: Peter W. Singer | Sara Sorcher 

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