News Release

Nicole S. Rowe
Administrative Assistant, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720

Wilmington University Team Wins First Place in DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge

Team Beats Out Government, Military and Civilian Teams Across Country

Four Wilmington University students have been awarded first place in the Undergraduate Category of the 2009 DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge, an international competition co-sponsored by the Department of Defense, the SANS Institute and IMPACT (International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats). The DC3 challenge, which was launched in 2006, encourages participants to solve a hypothetical, challenging forensic issue. Of the 1153 entries from over 56 countries, the Wilmington University team was one of only 44 teams who were able to solve the challenge. The University team recorded the third highest score worldwide and surpassed all government, military and civilian teams.

The Wilmington University New Castle team consisted of coach Chris Shanahan (Adjunct professor of Computer and Network Security and Wilmington University alum), Clay Batchelor, Roman Sheriff, Enjolokee Jones and Michael Escobar. They registered only two months before the challenge deadline (most teams worked on the challenge for atleast six months) and worked diligently towards solving the hypothetical computer forensics examination and analysis of a federal crime investigation.

The team has been awarded an all-expense paid trip to the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Conference in St. Louis in 2010, will appear on a podcast which will be aired from the Pentagon, and are scheduled to appear at a Delaware chapter of InfraGard meeting held at Wilmington University’s Dover campus. Additionally, the team will be honored by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) who has worked effortlessly to ensure the first state helps lead the way in U.S. cyber security. Governor Jack Markell will also congratulate the team along with Senator Carper in a reception to be held later this year.

“When I found out they had won it felt awesome! I’m still on cloud nine,” said coach Chris Shanahan, who specializes in computer security and forensics. “It is a huge achievement and there are professionals in the field of Computer Forensics that did not score as well as Wilmington University.” Shanahan explained that the team worked together on a hypothetical scenario in which your team is a computer forensics analyst and a terrorist group is threatening to blow up a building. The team then has to work to provide investigators with a report, which will be used to arrest said terrorists. “To solve the challenge was an achievement alone but to be the winning team overall is just amazing,” said Shanahan, “Those four guys should be so proud of themselves. I am very excited for them.”

Team member Roman Sheriff described the challenge as an incredible experience. “We learned the importance of communication,” said Sheriff, who works as a Job Applications Programmer at the Department of Labor while pursuing his degree, “We stayed in contact through email, I would put out meeting agendas and we met two to three times a week to discuss our progress.”

Teammate Clay Batchelor, who works as a Computer Associate at Best Buy, agreed saying, “It was the real thing. We learned how to do a complete forensic investigation, extract data, and write a legible report. Towards the end we had meetings every week and delegated each of the tasks. It was because of those meetings that we were able to cooperate with each other and work through this challenge.”

All the teammates spoke very highly of their coach Chris Shanahan. “We couldn’t have done it without our coach,” said Sheriff. “He helped us stay focused. It can all be very overwhelming.” Batchelor also commented, “From what I have heard the DC3 was impressed with the focus in our report and we owe a lot of that focus to our coach, Chris Shanahan.”

“We are so proud of the Wilmington University team,” said Computer and Network Security Program Coordinator, Mark Hufe who encouraged the students to participate in the challenge. “Winning this challenge not only highlights the achievements of our students but also the quality of our program. The Computer and Network Security (CNS) degree is an interdisciplinary program that includes components of Computer Forensics (CNS), Cyber Law (Legal Studies), Criminal Evidence and Procedures (Criminal Justice), and many more. As technology changes we will continue to update our program to reflect current cyber security procedures.”

For more information on the DC3 Computer Forensic Challenge visit

For more information on the Computer and Network Security degree at Wilmington University visit

Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - New Castle, DE