The battle has begun at the University of Maine!Teams of computer science students from colleges in several states have come to square off in the 2013 Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.”They inherit this system that is kind of in disarray. They have to bring it back and get it functioning at the same time of being attacked,” said competition director George Markowsky, professor and associate director of the UMaine School of Computing and Information Science. During this three day event, teams attempt to defend against computer hacking tactics devised by some of the best cyber security professionals from around the country. “They come from all over. Some work for industry, some are from the military. A couple are professors at other schools who specialize in this stuff,” said Markowsky.The UMaine Cyber Security Team has been working hard to get ready.”You prepare anyway you can. You never know what you are going to get into when you go in. There are other schools out there who have dedicated degree programs. We do not. We are self taught,” said Sean Lyforg, Captain of the UMaine Cyber Security Team.Impressive for a team who placed third in last year’s regional competition. But how does one win this cyber war?”They get points for service operating properly,” explained Markowsky. “The ultimate goal is to get crushed the least. Everyone gets destroyed in the contest, which is the best part about it,” said UMaine Cyber Security Team member Joe Aiken laughing. And the reward…”The winning team gets to do this over again next month at the national competition,” said Markowsky. But more than just a competition, this weekend of cyber warfare has a real world component for these college students. “It’s an event that gives some really great experience to students who are interested in the field of cyber security,” said Markowsky.”I am keeping an open mind between computer securities, software engineering. Whatever I end up finding a passion for, said Aiken.