Argonne National Laboratory

Cyber Defense Competition

The Argonne Cyber Defense Competition is an exciting collegiate challenge that tests the cyber security skills of students across the country. In this competition, student teams go toe-to-toe to design foolproof networks, fend off cyber attacks and develop systems that keep information secure.


In our competition, there are 4 types of teams, categorized by color - Blue, Red, Green and Pink.

  • The Blue Teams (defenders) consist of college students who are responsible for protecting a network infrastructure from the Red Team (attackers).
  • The Red Team consists of Argonne cyber security professionals, other university students and industry experts who work to cause cyber destruction to the Blue Teams’ network infrastructures.
  • The Green Team is a non-technical group of volunteers who act as users of the systems being defended by the Blue Teams and attacked by the Red Team.
  • The Pink Team is an observer group comprised of individuals who are interested in learning the theory and technical skills behind the Red Team. Members not only get to see what the Red Team does but understand what Blue Teams do to defend themselves.

The competition is scored utilizing a point system. Points can be both given and taken away depending on the actions or lack of action from both Blue and Red teams, and also based on scores that the Green Team provide on accessibility, ease of use, and usability of the systems. The Blue team with the most points at the end of the competition is declared the winner of the event.


The competition is held every spring, typically during the first week of April.

How to Apply

The 2017 competition is now over, and we thank everyone who competed and volunteered, and congratulate the Univerisity of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) team for their first place win!

For the most up-do-date information on registering teams or volunteering in the 2018 competition, visit the Cyber Defense Competition website.



For students:

  • Student enrolled in a community college, college or university are eligible to participate.
  • All members within a team must be students of the same institution they are representing.
  • Each student may only be a member of one team.

For teams:

  • Each team can have up to six (6) students registered with a minimum of four (4) students to compete.
  • Once the competition has begun, a team must complete the competition with the team that started the competition. Substitutions, additions, or removal of team members are prohibited except for extreme circumstances.
  • Each team must designate a Team Captain and Co-Captain, who will act as the team liaison between the competition staff and the team. One of these individuals must be present in the team space during the competition.