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A March Madness for cybersecurity: Facebook, Tesla join as sponsors of competition

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While Wisconsin and Arizona face-off at the NCAA West Regionals in Anaheim Saturday, in Pomona, eight teams of students will be competing at Cal Poly Pomona’s Western Regional Cyber Defense Competition, in a March Madness of cyber security.

“There’s a red team of security professionals that spend the entire two days attacking the blue teams and disrupting their business," explained Dan Manson, chair of Cal Poly Pomona's Computer Information Systems Department. "The blue teams have to run a business while they’re under constant attack.”

Facebook, Tesla, and Raytheon signed on as sponsors of this year’s competition, which Manson says reflects a growing demand in corporate America.

“We have a need for more and more need for cyber security professionals that have the right stuff,” said Manson, who adds that it's never too early to get started. "We're now working at the middle and high school levels."

Manson says the entire graduating class of the 2009 Cal Poly Pomona cyber defense team were offered jobs at Boeing. Other alums now work at Google, Tesla, and Facebook.

Teams from Cal Poly Pomona, UC Berkeley, Mt. San Antonio College, Cal State San Bernardino DeVry University, San Bernardino Valley College, Westwood College and University of Advancing Technology are competing at the competition this weekend. The winner advances to the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition April 25-27 in San Antonio.

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