Canadian Cyber Defence Challenge (CCDC)

The CCDC began in 2011 as a pilot program consisting of eight teams from Louis Riel Arts and Technology Centre, Sisler High School, Tec Voc, Glen Lawn Collegiate, and Garden Valley High School from Winkler, Manitoba. Since then, the CCDC successfully delivered a series of challenge event competitions while experiencing growing interest within Manitoba school divisions to participate. In the spring of 2012, two Manitoba high school teams were invited to attend the Cyber Patriot games in the United States, which is a competition created by the Air Force Association (AFA). Both participating Manitoba teams performed exceptionally well and finished (unofficially) second and fourth out of the top 24 American regional winners they competed against. In 2013 and 2014, CDC competition events were held, investments in the CDC emulation technology platform were made, and the excitement grew amongst high school students and teachers.

Why the CCDC Model Works

The CCDC model is a multi-faceted learning process that is designed around the concepts of event-anchored learning. Event-anchored learning environments bring students, educators, and IT industry professionals together in a collaborative environment that fosters advancements in practices, technologies, and business solutions. They offer interactive, scenario-based events or exercises that help participating individuals develop some of the key IT foundation skills such as networks, servers, and security along with the soft skills of customer service, professional ethics, and communications. Due to the competitive nature of the programs, they easily attract attention and increase the students’ awareness and interest in the fields of IT.

The event itself is a four-hour competition, where student teams create proactive solutions to problems they encounter on the simulated network platform. As a team, they defend and protect their fictitious organization against security breaches presented, learning to work together to achieve results and score the most points. They are also documenting their results, and make a presentation to senior management.