The list of those hacked includes federal agencies, congressional offices, financial institutes, universities, and many others.

Computer giant Apple Inc. was attacked by hackers who infected employees’ computers, the Twitter account of Burger King was hit with online graffiti and a “MiniDuke” virus infiltrated government and agency systems worldwide — and that was just the last month.

“Cybersecurity is one of those topics people hear about a lot but no one knows a lot about,” Matthiew Morin, a junior at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., said at the end of the 2013 Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, held at the University of Maine. “They hear, ‘Oh, this big corporation was hacked’ [and] everybody needs to reset their passwords. There is a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scene.”

Morin, a junior computer networking and information services student, was Champlain’s team captain in the competition that pit one university against another in a cyberattack showdown.

“There are lots of this that happens that doesn’t make the press,” George Markowsky, organizer of the event and associate director of the UMaine School of Computing and Information Science, said of computer hacking. “We’re training the next generation of cyberprofessionals.”

(Next page: How the teams fared, and what they did)

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