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Ever since cyber crooks stole massive amounts of customer’s private data from Target, people have become increasingly concerned about their confidential information.

The National Cyber Defense competition in Ames hoped to teach students ways to protect others.

Iowa State University Electrical and Computer Engineering professor, Doug Jacobson, says Saturday’s competition is similar to a cyber-game of capture the flag.

“These are the next generation of cyber defenders,” Jacobson said.

The cyber-attack scenario allows students to build a virtual internet and defend hackers who are trying to steal important data. Jacobson says the scenario gives students the hands on experience on how to deal with a growing problem.

“If you look at security it’s extremely unfair, the defender has to be perfect and the attacker has to be lucky,” Jacobson said.

Target’s massive credit card breach last holiday season was the prime example of how lucky hackers can get. Jacobson says hackers will continue to press their luck.

“The odds of getting caught or the odds of being prosecuted can be zero,” Jacobson said.

Teams from around the Midwest gathered at the competition. Computer security is a growing major at Iowa State University.