Andy native captains USA cyber team

Published 12:56 am Tuesday, April 24, 2018

An Andalusia High School alumnus helped his university’s cyber security team rank on a national level in the Department of Energy Cyber Defense Competition.

Chase Helms is the captain of the University of South Alabama’s cyber security team, DayZero.

Helms and his team traveled to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to join the competition with cybersecurity teams in two other locations, the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington.

The competition placed DayZero in charge of defending a website.

The team was given a scenario in which they had to protect a gas company’s website while being attacked by hackers for seven straight hours.

“It was like an industrial control system with a mock power grid,” Helms said.

That meant that DayZero was responsible for control over industrial systems.

“We had to keep hackers from accessing that while still having the ability for users to access the website.”

During that time, Helms had to pitch to a panel while his team defended the website.

Helms said it was stressful but he’s glad he has the experience.

“It was kind of stressful but it taught us a lot,” he said.

Helms said for the most part the team did well, especially in keeping hackers at bay.

“We had no breaches for the entire scenario but we weren’t the best at documentation or customer service which did play a big part into the score.”

The team competed from April 3-5 and was able to score a solid ranking, sitting at ninth place nationally and second place regionally.

“We placed ninth out of 27 teams that competed,” Helms said.

“There were only five of us and two of us are freshmen so we have a fairly young team.”

A lot of other teams had grad students, Helms said.

Helms is a senior at the University of South Alabama and currently works at Infirmary Health in Mobile.