Students to Compete in Cyber Security Competition
October 5, 2010
After top-ten finishes in the qualifying round, two Stevens Institute of Technology teams will compete in the finals of the Capture the Flag Application Security Challenge October 29. Hosted by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, the competition pits ten undergraduate teams against one another in a series of cyber security challenges focused on web application security, reversing, and exploitation.
“This attests to the quality and dedication of our students,” says Susanne Wetzel, Associate Professor of Computer Science. “It also shows that the Cybersecurity education at Stevens provides them with the right knowledge and skills to succeed in these competitions.”
The Capture the Flag Application Security Challenge has students apply their cyber security knowledge to real-world security situations. The goal is to protect systems, rather than exploit them.
Senior Cybersecurity major Theodore Reed says he loves the imagination, knowledge, and hard work that go into the competition. “Working on a challenge question for over 8 hours, and finally arriving at a correct solution is a wonderful feeling,” he explains. “Cybersecurity provides tons of opportunities for those with imagination and an acerbic spirit. Challenges arise which require the competitor to know minute and obscure details. The discipline is a true representation of thinking outside the box.”
In the qualifying round, Stevens competed with over 200 teams from across the world, placing fifth and seventh among the top ten American undergraduate teams. The top ten advance to the final round to be held October 29, where they will compete for cash prizes and scholarships. Team SCDT1 placed fifth, comprised of Theodore Reed (senior Cybersecurity) Nicholas Capalbo (senior Cybersecurity), Vince Nascone (junior Engineering Management), and Michael Arpaia (sophomore Cybersecurity). Team Lady Gaga Cyber Defense placed seventh, comprised of Daniel Sherry (sophomore Cybersecurity), Michael Hegadorn (junior Cybersecurity), John Ciarlante (junior Computer Engineering), and Piotr Lupinski (Computer Science).
Students participate in other competitions throughout the year, such as the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Stevens 2010 team, coached by Associate Professor Dr. Susanne Wetzel and Assistant Teaching Professor Steven Gabarro, took fourth this March. The Cybersecurity curriculum at Stevens provides hands-on experience, project work, and a two-semester security senior design project – which prepares the students well not only for competition, but also for the workplace upon graduation.
“The Stevens students participating in these competitions are hard-working, driven, with a large portion of initiative and independence, yet concerned to remain ethical,” says Sven Dietrich, Assistant Professor of Computer Science. As part of a hands-on course in Cybersecurity he is currently teaching, “the students are given the opportunity to understand, among other things, the intricacies of malicious software, how it exploits vulnerabilities in software and networked systems on the Internet, and then apply the techniques in these competitions."
“Cybersecurity is an important field as it touches on so many areas and topics we have to deal with on a daily basis,” Wetzel says. “This includes networks, wireless security, access control, etc. Daily applications range from online banking, online shopping, passwords, PINs, to remote meter reading, and modern cars.” The field has received increased attention as the Obama administration has increased its focus on Cybersecurity (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/CyberReview/).
Visit the Stevens Cybersecurity program web site to learn more. Interested in pursuing computer science at Stevens? Check out the Computer Science web site or visit undergraduate or graduate admissions for more details.